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Moody's affirms Campbell Soup's ratings, raises outlook to stable

Moody's on Dec. 24 affirmed Campbell Soup Co.'s Baa2 senior unsecured debt rating and revised its outlook from negative to stable after it completed the sale of Arnott's Biscuits Ltd. and certain international operations to KKR & Co. Inc. for about $2.2 billion in cash.

The agency also affirmed the company's Prime-2 commercial paper rating.

Moody's said the affirmation reflects the completion of the Arnott's sale as well as the reasonably stable operating performance in the core meals and beverages segment and sustained strong performance in snacks. The agency also said Campbell's liquidity remains excellent due to strong and stable cash flows, modest seasonality, and sufficient liquidity backstop arrangements.

Moody's expects the company to generate $350 million to $450 million in annual free cash flow to be available for further debt repayment.

The stable outlook reflects Moody's expectation that Campbell's core earnings stability will continue to improve.