Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings
An obligor rated ’AAA’ has EXTREMELY STRONG capacity to meet its financial commitments. ’AAA’ is the highest Issuer Credit Rating assigned by Standard & Poor’s.
An obligor rated ’AA’ has VERY STRONG capacity to meet its financial commitments. It differs from the highest rated obligors only in small degree.
An obligor rated ’A’ has STRONG capacity to meet its financial commitments but is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligors in higher-rated categories.
An obligor rated ’BBB’ has ADEQUATE capacity to meet its financial commitments. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitments.
Obligors rated ’BB’, ’B’, ’CCC’, and ’CC’ are regarded as having significant speculative characteristics. ’BB’ indicates the least degree of speculation and ’CC’ the highest. While such obligors will likely have some quality and protective characteristics, these may be outweighed by large uncertainties or major exposures to adverse conditions.
An obligor rated ’BB’ is LESS VULNERABLE in the near term than other lower-rated obligors. However, it faces major ongoing uncertainties and exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic conditions which could lead to the obligor’s inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitments. B An obligor rated ’B’ is MORE VULNERABLE than the obligors rated ’BB’, but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitments. Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor’s capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitments.
An obligation rated ’B’ is more vulnerable to nonpayment than obligations rated ’BB’, but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor’s capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.
An obligor rated ’CCC’ is CURRENTLY VULNERABLE, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions to meet its financial commitments.
An obligor rated ’CC’ is CURRENTLY HIGHLY-VULNERABLE.
Plus (+) or minus(-) The ratings from ’AA’ to ’CCC’ may be modified by the addition of a plus or minus sign to show relative standing within the major rating categories.
A subordinated debt or preferred stock obligation rated ’C’ is CURRENTLY HIGHLY VULNERABLE to nonpayment. The ’C’ rating may be used to cover a situation where a bankruptcy petition has been filed or similar action taken, but payments on this obligation are being continued. A ’C’ also will be assigned to a preferred stock issue in arrears on dividends or sinking fund payments, but that is currently paying.
An obligor rated ’R’ is under regulatory supervision owing to its financial condition. During the pendency of the regulatory supervision the regulators may have the power to favor one class of obligations over others or pay some obligations and not others. Please see Standard & Poor’s issue credit ratings for a more detailed description of the effects of regulatory supervision on specific issues or classes of obligations.
SD and D
An obligor rated ’SD’ (Selective Default) or ’D’ has failed to pay one or more of its financial obligations (rated or unrated) when it came due. A ’D’ rating is assigned when Standard & Poor’s believes that the default will be a general default and that the obligor will fail to pay all or substantially all of its obligations as they come due. An ’SD’ rating is assigned when Standard & Poor’s believes that the obligor has selectively defaulted on a specific issue or class of obligations but it will continue to meet its payment obligations on other issues or classes of obligations in a timely manner. Please see Standard & Poor’s issue credit ratings for a more detailed description of the effects of a default on specific issues or classes of obligations.
An issuer designated N.R. is not rated.
Public Information Ratings
Ratings with a ’pi’ subscript are based on an analysis of an issuer’s published financial information, as well as additional information in the public domain. They do not, however, reflect in-depth meetings with an issuer’s management and are therefore based on less comprehensive information than ratings without a ’pi’ subscript. Ratings with a ’pi’ subscript are reviewed annually based on a new year’s financial statements, but may be reviewed on an interim basis if a major event occurs that may affect the issuer’s credit quality.
Outlooks are not provided for ratings with a ’pi’ subscript, nor are they subject to potential CreditWatch listings. Ratings with a ’pi’ subscript generally are not modified with ’+’ or ’-’ designations. However, such designations may be assigned when the issuer’s credit rating is constrained by sovereign risk or the credit quality of a parent company or affiliated group.