S&P raises Ford rating to investment-grade status

NEW YORK (AP) -- Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has lifted Ford's credit rating to investment-grade status on healthy sales in North America. The three major credit-ratings agencies now rate the automaker's debt investment-grade.

An investment-grade rating signals that a company's debt has a low risk of default. Companies with investment-grade credit ratings generally pay lower interest on debt.

In May 2012 Moody's named Ford's debt ratings investment-grade for the first time in seven years. Fitch Ratings upgraded the company to investment-grade in April 2012.

S&P credit analyst Dan Picciotto said last Friday that Ford is on track with efforts to diversify its profits across regions and has kept the interest of North American customers. S&P's rating on Ford Motor Co.'s debt is now "BBB-''-- the lowest investment grade -- up from "BB+".

S&P also said that it is changing its outlook for General Motors Co. to "positive" from "stable," putting it in line for a possible upgrade to an investment-grade rating. Picciotto said that an upgrade could occur by the end of next year if GM's overall auto operations continue to improve.

GM has been targeting a return to investment-grade credit status. It's been at "junk" status since 2005.

Published: Tue, Sep 10, 2013

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