Thomson downgrade will have minimal effect on financing plans and interest costs
Paris (France), Ė As expected, following the Groupís annual results announced on 14 February 2008, Thomsonís credit rating has today been downgraded from Baa3 to Ba1 by Moodyís. The outlook has been changed from negative to stable. The Group expects Standard & Poorís decision very shortly as well.
The Groupís net interest costs are not expected to be significantly affected by these changes, as none of the Groupís outstanding debt has costs linked to these rating changes. The Groupís interest charges are expected to decline in 2008 due to lower USD Libor rates.
Given the uncertain credit markets prevailing during the latter half of 2007, Thomson took steps during 2007 and early 2008 to raise additional long-term debt totalling Ä220 million. This additional long-term debt, together with the Groupís Ä1.75 billion syndicated facility, is expected to provide sufficient liquidity to refinance to the Groupís short-term and long-term debt falling due in 2008 and 2009. The Group intends to improve its ratios so as to return to investment grade, in line with its financial policies.
Contrary to rumours, Thomson confirms that it has no plans for an increase in its equity share capital.
The dividend proposed by the Board of Directors at Ä0.33 per share was announced with Thomsonís full year results on 14 February and will be paid beginning of July, subject to approval from the Annual General Meeting on 22 May 2008.
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