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Fitch downgrades Italian defence giant Finmeccanica
by Staff Writers
Rome (AFP) Dec 7, 2011

Ratings agency Fitch on Wednesday downgraded the long-term rating of Italian aerospace and defence giant Finmeccanica to BBB- from BBB due to poor company earnings and a disappointing outlook.

Fitch said in a statement that announced restructuring and the ousting of company chairman Pier Francesco Guarguaglini were "likely to lead to a longer than previously anticipated period of financial underperformance".

Fitch also said its outlook was negative, warning "the scale of the task facing management in 2012, coupled with the uncertain fiscal environment in Finmeccanica's key markets" meant the company could struggle to meet targets.

Standard & Poor's had downgraded Finmeccanica's ratings on Tuesday.

The company announced losses of 324 million euros ($434 million) over the first nine months of this year and last month announced a restructuring plan including a one-billion-euro asset sell off by the end of 2012.

Finmeccanica has also been shaken by a series of corruption scandals that led Guarguaglini to resign last Thursday. Chief executive Giuseppe Orsi has taken over the role of chairman.

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