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AUSTRALIA: Southcorp plays down S&P downgrade

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The troubled Australian wine group, Southcorp, has said that Standard & Poor's widely predicted move to cut its corporate rating and guaranteed debt issues ratings on the company would have no impact on its banking covenants and only a "minor impact" on its cost of borrowings.

Southcorp said at the end of October 2003, it will have A$1.095 billion in credit facilities, maturing from May 2005, while its forecast net debt is expected to be A$941m by 1 July.

"S&P's release refers to the potential for asset write-downs at the end of the 2003 financial year," Southcorp said. "To the extent that this may occur, and related to intangible assets, any such write-downs are not expected to impact upon the company's banking covenants."


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