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Essential Intelligence: Special Purpose

Mid-Market Evaluation (MME)

A forward-looking opinion about the creditworthiness of a mid-market company relative to other mid-market companies.

MME rating is S&P Global Ratings' forward-looking opinion about the creditworthiness of a mid-market company relative to other mid-market companies. It assesses a mid-market company's relative capacity and willingness to meet its financial obligations as they come due. We assign MME ratings using a specific rating methodology and a specific credit scale--to distinguish them from S&P Global Ratings general-purpose credit ratings--ranging from 'MM1' (highest) to 'MM8' and 'MMD' (default). We apply the same scale to issuers and to debt instruments. However, when applied to a debt instrument of a mid-market company, an MME rating also incorporates our expectations of recovery in the event of a default.

We use our global corporate ratings criteria as the basis for the evaluations. To take into account the specific characteristics of mid-market companies, we have customized the analytical process and part of the criteria. As is the case for our ratings, an MME rating does not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold a particular security; nor does it comment on investment merit or the suitability of an investment for a particular investor.

The MME is available to companies with annual group-level revenues below EUR1.5 billion and total reported group debt facilities (drawn and undrawn) below EUR500 million, or the local currency equivalents. The criteria also apply to financial sponsor-owned companies with annual group-level revenues below EUR1.5 billion but with total debt facilities (drawn and undrawn) below EUR250 million, or the local currency equivalents. Financial sponsors include private equity firms.

We provide MME ratings to companies on a public or private basis. For the private version, companies are permitted to make their MME rating available to a limited number of investors via a secure document exchange platform. Both in the public and private version, a full report describes our views about the main credit strengths and weaknesses of the company.

The product is intended to help investors better navigate this complex and relatively opaque market, provide intermediaries with an additional tool to help service their clients, and help companies access alternative sources of funding, through increased transparency.

For investors and lenders, MME offers:

  • An independent view of mid-market companies creditworthiness as well as the drivers behind this assessment.
  • A supplement to investors own credit analysis, providing a tool to help them evaluate and filter mid-market company credit risk relative to their own credit risk tolerance.
  • Enhanced comparability by providing a shared language to compare different mid-market companies on a common, purpose-built scale.
  • A credible independent opinion from an organization with more than 150 years' experience and an unrivalled track record of success in analyzing corporates. S&P Global Ratings currently analyses over 1,500 corporates in EMEA, a quarter of which are mid-sized companies.

For mid-market companies, MME may:
  • Help access alternative sources of funding by providing an independent view of the company’s creditworthiness in a highly-competitive environment.
  • Widen the investor pool interested in a particular mid-market issuer or debt issue, which aids price competition and may add to liquidity.
  • Help competitive borrowing by increasing transparency and providing a common benchmark, thus allowing lenders to better reflect credit risk in their pricing.
  • Streamline the process MME is intended to be less time-and resource-intensive than a credit rating, and therefore generally quicker to obtain.

For intermediaries, MME may:
  • Assist the flow of capital from investors seeking exposure to the mid-market company segment, by providing a benchmark from a recognized provider of credit opinions.
  • Help facilitate private placements or direct lending from non-traditional sources by enabling investors to assess and screen credit risks within this relatively new asset class.

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