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Vale downgraded to junk with negative outlook: Moody's

Sao Paulo — Moody's Investors Service has downgraded the credit rating of Brazil-based iron ore miner Vale to Ba1 from Baa3 on the global scale, the ratings agency said Wednesday.

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At the end of January, S&P Global Ratings had put Vale's bonds on negative watch, warning it could cut the BBB- rating by several notches depending on fines and loss of an operating license in the affected area.

Fitch Ratings also had cut Vale's rating in late January from BBB+ to BBB-, or one notch above junk status.

"These rating actions conclude the review for possible downgrade for Vale's ratings initiated on 29 January 2019 in response to the collapse of the tailings dam at the Corrego do Feijao mine in the city of Brumadinho, state of Minas Gerais," Moody's research said, pointing to "considerable uncertainties associated with the full impact and long-term implications of this labor and environmental disaster for Vale's overall credit profile, as well as the significant overhang of litigation exposure and financial liability that is likely to persist in the years to come."

Moody's also changed Vale's outlook for all ratings to negative from a previous under review for downgrade. "The negative outlook incorporates the uncertainties around the amount and timing of future cash outlays related to the accident. Moreover, it also reflects the risks of ongoing investigations about the cause of the accident and responsibilities," it said.

Moody's action may be expected to put further downward pressure of Vale's share price, which opened the market Wednesday at $12.52/share on the New York Stock Exchange.

-- Guilherme Baida,

-- Edited by Joe Innace,