For GM, a delicate balancing act to bolster liquidity

NEW YORK — Standard Motors is running a delicate balancing act as it prepared to

NEW YORK — Standard Motors is running a delicate balancing act as it prepared to draw down $16 billion in credit score lines when refinancing financial debt of identical size, facing a for a longer period than anticipated shutdown of vegetation and significant income losses.

The automaker gave see to lenders that it would borrow an existing credit score facility practically in its entirety on Tuesday.

But the choice to draw down on the credit score lines comes as the enterprise undertakes customary refinancing conversations for $16.five billion in financial debt led by JP Morgan.

GM faces a considerable reduction in income due to the fact of the shutdown of North American vegetation that could extend past March thirty.

On Wednesday, Moody’s Investors Assistance explained it could downgrade GM’s Baa2 bank credit score facility ranking and a Baa3 senior unsecured financial debt ranking into junk territory.

“A critical disruption in automotive desire owing to the coronavirus blended with the possibility of a comply with-on economic economic downturn, will spot significant tension on GM’s cash circulation and credit score metrics,” Moody’s explained in a report.

GM explained it expects to borrow amounts on its revolver as a proactive evaluate to shore up liquidity and strengthen its financial situation owing to global marketplace uncertainty from the coronavirus pandemic, according to a submitting with the Securities and Exchange Fee.

The enterprise and its guide financial institutions are at the moment debating the best outcome for both of those parties by means of a crisis of unprecedented magnitude that has established a actively playing discipline that is a lot different from the 1 in which lenders at first fully commited to lend.

On Wednesday, Congress reached an arrangement on a $two trillion economic stimulus monthly bill to relieve the economic affect of the coronavirus outbreak. The a lot-predicted paying monthly bill does not make certain mention of automakers, but sets apart $454 billion to make financial loans or bank loan ensures for firms throughout all sectors, according to Reuters.

“They want to exhibit liquidity,” a banking source explained. “In purchase to qualify for the authorities bailout you need to retain your staff on the payroll.”


Companies use revolving credit score amenities, acknowledged as revolvers, as backstop funding in circumstance shorter-phrase commercial paper lines that protect fees these as payroll are unsuccessful to roll in excess of. Borrowers can draw down, repay, and re-borrow these funding lines at will. For the most part, these amenities pay reduced premiums and continue to be undrawn.

But as the coronavirus crisis intensifies in the US, more and more firms are tapping credit score amenities to strengthen liquidity in circumstance cash dries out.

“You have built a motivation to a enterprise that you really don’t know how it truly is heading to glance like in three months, 6 months,” the banking source explained. “Every enterprise is now a different enterprise. This circumstance is unprecedented. It is a activity changer for the overall marketplace.”

GM could go forward with the transaction as it was at first available, reduce the over-all size of the funding, or address only in the vicinity of-phrase maturities, three banking sources explained.

The enterprise has two impending maturities, including a $4 billion, three-yr bank loan and a $two billion, 364-working day bank loan, both of those established to mature in April 2021, according to a next submitting with the SEC.

GM may well in the end decide to place the refinancing on hold, the three banking sources explained.

The carmaker also has a $10.five billion credit score facility that matures in April 2023.

The financial debt refinancing was intended to extend maturities, but go away pricing unchanged. It is an exercising the carmaker performs each and every two yrs, according to bankers.

The deadline for commitments was Wednesday. Goal closing for the funding is mid-April, the banking sources explained.

GM drew down on its revolving line of credit score to ensure it had obtain to these cash all through this uncertain circumstance, a GM spokesperson explained in an e-mail.

The enterprise, which prior to the draw was projected to have amongst $15-16 billion in cash on its stability sheet at the close of the quarter, did not have any speedy cash requirements when it built the choice, the spokesperson explained in the e-mail.

A JP Morgan spokesperson declined to comment.

Ford’s choice

GM’s choice to borrow as early as Friday comes on the heels of a identical move by rival Ford Motor Co. that canceled a financial debt refinancing transaction right after it also disclosed strategies to draw down on its credit score facility, two banking sources explained.

In February, Ford also requested its JP Morgan-led bank group to refinance $15.4 billion in revolving credits but in March determined to draw down on the facility and postponed its refinancing strategies as marketplace disorders deteriorated, two banking sources explained.

Ford drew $13.4 billion under a company credit score facility and $two billion under a supplemental credit score facility, for a complete of $15.4 billion. The borrowings will be used to “offset the momentary doing work funds impacts of the coronavirus-associated creation shutdowns and to maintain Ford’s financial overall flexibility,” according to a March 19 Ford statement.

Ford has explained it would revisit its refinancing strategies as early as September, two banking sources explained. GM could decide to do the similar, they explained.

On Wednesday, Moody’s downgraded Ford further more into junk territory, slicing the company’s ranking to Ba2, from Ba1, citing “the critical shock of the coronavirus pandemic blended with Ford’s by now-weak working efficiency and a yrs-extended restructuring that is a drain on cash circulation.”

Also on Wednesady, S&P International downgraded the company’s credit score ranking into junk, decreasing its extended-phrase issuer credit score ranking to BB+ from BBB-.

Fitch on Monday reduce Ford’s credit score ranking 1 notch to BBB- with a adverse outlook.

A Ford spokesperson referred thoughts to the March 19 information launch.

For the reason that of their significant reliance on global provide chains, automakers are 1 of the sectors anticipated to be strike toughest by the coronavirus.

Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have idled North American vegetation to halt the unfold of the virus, bowing to tension from the UAW, which signifies about one hundred fifty,000 hourly staff at the firms.

On Monday, trade groups symbolizing automakers including GM, Volkswagen Team and Toyota Motor Corp. explained in a letter to congressional management that Congress really should established up amenities to deliver financial loans and bank loan ensures to significant employers, medium-size producers and small enterprises facing income losses owing to COVID-19. The trade groups hope retail profits to be down by as a lot as forty % in March in contrast to the similar month in 2019.

GM and Ford join a record of firms that have funded credit score lines in purchase to strengthen liquidity and maintain financial overall flexibility in mild of the coronavirus pandemic. Loan companies have been acquiescing to the borrowing requests so much.

GM has a independent $three billion, three-yr revolving credit score line that is not part of the refinancing effort and hard work.

As of December 31, GM had $17.three billion in cash out there under credit score amenities and complete out there liquidity of $37.two billion, according to the next SEC submitting.