PARIS --- Ratings agency Standard & Poors placed Airbus on its watch list for a possible downgrade as doubts surfaced over the future level of aircraft deliveries and advance payments from airlines battered by the coronavirus crisis.
Airbus said earlier this week a large majority of its airlines continued to pay pre-delivery payments or advances against future deliveries, and that it would adjust production to cope with any gaps.
But S&P said it was concerned delays could weaken the company’s A+ credit profile and industry sources said the pre-delivery payments currently flowing through were ones that had already received financing before the crisis began.
“In the short term, we assume no deliveries or pre-delivery payments, but that Airbus will continue production,” said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Tuomas E. Ekholm in a statement.
The move came a day after Fitch cut the outlook on Airbus debt to negative, citing the risk to its A- rating of deferrals of aircraft deliveries. Both agencies noted Airbus’ historically strong liquidity but Fitch said its profile had been affected in part by a recent record 3.6-billion-euro bribery fine. (end of excerpt)
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