Connect with us:
Our vision is to be the global leader in sustainable gold mining

Media

Moody's upgrades Gold Fields to investment grade

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

$1 billion ($852 million outstanding) of rated debt affected

London, 26 June 2018 -- Moody's Investors Service upgraded Gold Fields Limited (Gold Fields) to investment grade, raising its rating to Baa3 from Ba1. At the same time the rating on Gold Fields' $1 billion ($852 million outstanding) senior unsecured notes due 7 October 2020, issued by Gold Fields Orogen Holding (BVI) Limited and guaranteed by Gold Fields, was upgraded to Baa3 from Ba1.

Moody's also withdrew Gold Fields' Ba1 Corporate Family Rating and Ba1-PD Probability of Default Rating. The rating outlook was changed to stable from positive.

"The upgrade reflects Gold Fields' commitment to maintain credit metrics and financial policy appropriate for an investment grade Baa3 rating as it continues growing in Australia, its largest region by production," commented Douglas Rowlings, Moody's Vice President. "Gold Fields has continued to strengthening its credit metrics and de-risk its long-term production profile thereby reducing its reliance on South Deep reserves in South Africa for future cash flow generation".

A full list of affected ratings is provided at the end of this press release.

RATINGS RATIONALE

Gold Fields' Baa3 issuer rating and the Baa3 rating on the senior unsecured $1 billion notes issued by Gold Fields Orogen Holding (BVI) Limited and guaranteed by GF are driven by: (1) Gold Fields' profile as a mid-tier gold producer; (2) the moderate geographic diversification of Gold Fields' production; and (3) the company's defensive all-in sustaining cost profile.

Gold Fields' South Deep reserves in South Africa have become a less prominent feature for Gold Fields' credit profile, given the increasing levels of production from Australia, which has a track record of being a stable mining jurisdiction. Over 47% of Gold Field's Gross Profit was generated in Australia at year end 2017. This is expected to increase above 50% as Gold Field's Gruyere project commences production in 2019.

The rating also reflects the continued overperformance of its mines outside South Africa offsetting the underperformance at its South Deep mine in South Africa. Exposure to continued challenges at South Deep is further mitigated by Gold Field's reinvestment into maintaining production levels long-term over the past three years. The company has done this along conservative lines through acquiring near production projects and adding to reserves at existing mines.

Gold Fields' ratings are supported by its strong credit metrics with Debt/EBITDA expected to be around 1.6x and cash flow from operations - dividends to debt around 47% at yearend 2018.

RATIONALE FOR STABLE OUTLOOK

The stable outlook takes into account Gold Fields' strong credit profile shown by its conservative credit metrics levels and South Deep no longer being a key consideration to maintain future cash flow generation.

LIQUIDITY

Gold Fields benefits from a strong liquidity profile. Its funding requirements for the next 18 months are adequately covered by its cash balance totaling $479 million at FYE2017, undrawn banking facilities totaling $1.3 billion and a staggered debt maturity profile.

Moody's expects that under a sensitized $1,200/ounce gold price scenario, Gold Fields' current liquidity position would meet its operational requirements without resulting in a breach of its banking covenants - a net debt/EBITDA below 2.5x (1.0x at 31 December 2017, as defined by the facilities agreement), and an EBITDA/net interest expense in excess of 5.0x (14.8x at December 2017, as defined by the facilities agreement).

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING UP/DOWN

Considerations for the rating moving to Baa2 will include (1) revenues in excess of $5 billion; (2) adjusted gross debt/ EBITDA below 1x and cash from operations less dividends/ debt being sustained above 45%; (4) further diversification of production into low risk mining jurisdictions; and (5) all-in sustaining costs sustainably below $800 per ounce.

Negative pressure could be exerted on the company's rating following (1) any potential increased liquidity risk; (2) adjusted gross debt/ EBITDA appearing to be sustained above 3.0x; and (3) cash from operations less dividends/ debt being sustained below 20%.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Mining Industry published in April 2018. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

Headquartered in Johannesburg, GF is a global gold mining company with sales totaling $2.8 billion and attributable production of 2.2 million ounces for the FYE2017, making it the eight-largest gold producer globally by production.

The group is listed on the Johannesburg, New York and Swiss stock exchanges.

GF operates 7 mines on three continents: three in Australia, two in Ghana, one in South Africa and a gold/copper mine in Peru.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

Assignments:

..Issuer: Gold Fields Limited

.... Issuer Rating, Assigned Baa3

Upgrades:

..Issuer: Gold Fields Orogen Holding (BVI) Limited

....BACKED Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Upgraded to Baa3 from Ba1

Withdrawals:

..Issuer: Gold Fields Limited

.... Corporate Family Rating, Withdrawn, previously rated Ba1

.... Probability of Default Rating, Withdrawn, previously rated Ba1-PD

Outlook Actions:

..Issuer: Gold Fields Limited

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Positive

..Issuer: Gold Fields Orogen Holding (BVI) Limited

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Positive

The Local Market analyst for these ratings is Douglas Rowlings, +971 (423) 795-43.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this credit rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this credit rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Sven Reinke
Senior Vice President
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

David G. Staples
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454


Back to previous page