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Thursday, December 18, 2003
Fitch Downgrades Solutia's Sr Sec : "December 17, 2003 01:57 PM US Eastern Timezone Fitch Downgrades Solutia's Sr Sec "

December 17, 2003 01:57 PM US Eastern Timezone

Fitch Downgrades Solutia's Sr Sec & Unsec Rtgs To 'DDD/D'

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 17, 2003--Fitch Ratings has downgraded Solutia Inc.'s (Solutia) senior secured credit facility rating to 'DDD' from 'B-' and the ratings on the senior secured and senior unsecured notes to 'D' from 'CCC'. The senior secured note rating applies to the 11.25% notes and the Euro Notes. The senior unsecured note rating applies to the 6.72% and 7.375% debentures. The Negative Rating Watch has been removed.

The ratings downgrade reflects Solutia's recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and continued weak operating performance. The senior secured credit facility rating is two notches above the senior secured and unsecured notes rating, reflecting the credit facility's collateral and potential recovery position. Fitch expects the existing credit facility to be fully repaid by debtor-in-possession financing pending bankruptcy court approval. The Euro Note holders have agreed to modify their agreement with Solutia to eliminate cross-default provisions and extend maturity to 2008. The required percentage of Euro Note holders adopted resolutions which eliminate through Jan. 30, 2004 the ability to accelerate and default the Euro Notes due to Chapter 11 filing by Solutia; the second step of this Euro Note agreement will be implemented in a second meeting of Euro Note holders no later than Jan. 29, 2004. Fitch believes the amended Euro Notes constitute distressed debt exchange since Solutia negotiated the amendment to avoid default and the note holders will experience delayed principal recovery. Although polychlorinated biphenyl-related litigation had been recently settled, Solutia continues to struggle through poor profitability during the cyclical downturn. For the trailing twelve-month period ended Sept. 30, 2003, EBITDA/revenue was 5.8%, EBITDA-to-interest incurred was 1.4 times (x), and total debt-to-EBITDA was 7.4x.

Solutia is a specialty chemical company with $2.2 billion in sales in 2002. The company produces interlayer and window films, and nylon plastics and fibers for domestic and international markets. Some of Solutia's products are name brands, such as Saflex plastic interlayer for windows and Wear-Dated carpet fibers. End-use markets for Solutia's products include construction and home furnishings, automotive, aviation/transportation, electronics, and pharmaceuticals.

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