WOOLWORTHS ACHIEVES A3 RATING FROM MOODY'S.
WOOLWORTHS HOLDINGS LIMITED
(Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa)
(Registration number 1929/001986/06)
Share code: WHL
25 January 2005, Cape Town, South Africa: Woolworths achieves A3 rating from
Woolworths Holdings Limited has obtained a national scale unsecured issuer
rating of A3.za from Moody's Investor Services", announced Norman Thomson,
Director of Finance for Woolworths. The rating of A3.za with a stable outlook
represents an above average creditworthiness announced today relative to other
debt issuers in the South African market and places the credit strength three
notches above investment grade.
This rating reflects Woolworths' established presence in the local retail
market, its leading brand quality, stable earnings from its widespread retail
network as well as the currently buoyant consumer market.
Commenting on this rating, AJ Rothman of Standard Bank, Corporate and Investment
Banking, advisors to Woolworths, said, "Although not common, credit ratings have
become a growing trend in the South African market over the past number of years
and Woolworths is among the leading group of companies to obtain a credit
"Formal credit ratings facilitate funding opportunities by enabling borrowers to
raise debt at cost effective rates in the capital market through the issuance of
instruments such as corporate bonds and asset backed securities, providing an
alternative to traditional bank funding." The regulatory environment in South
Africa continues to evolve, creating an environment conducive to structured debt
issuance in the capital market.
"This credit rating supports Woolworths Holdings' current debt restructuring,
including our anticipated securitisation of the retail store card portfolio as a
means of raising between R1,5 to R2bn of triple A-rated notes," said Thomson.
Woolworths announced on Friday, 21 January, that should the securitisation be
successful, it would return surplus capital to shareholders through a R1bn share
buyback. The plan was first announced in November last year.
Should you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
With kind regards
Woolworths Press Office
(+27 21) 762 6389
(+27 82) 782 3856
25 January 2005
RAND MERCHANT BANK (A division of FirstRand Bank Limited) CORPORATE FINANCE
Date: 25/01/2005 02:38:48 PM Produced by the JSE SENS Department