Credit ratings agencies are downgrading their outlook for Hanwha Aerospace as the aviation arm of conglomerate Hanwha Group grapples with an increasing financial burden after acquiring the U.S. aircraft engine manufacturer, EDAC Technologies.
On Monday, Hanwha Aerospace said it would take over EDAC from Greenbriar Equity Group for $300 million and complete the acquisition by the end of 2019. The company plans to acquire EDAC through Accelerate Merger Corp. (AMC), its subsidiary in the U.S.
Following the announcement, NICE Investors Service issued a report Wednesday, saying it had placed Hanwha Aerospace under observation. It said it would downgrade the company's credit rating to AA- from A+ at the end of the year if the company increases its loans.
"Hanwha Aerospace's acquisition of the entire stake in EDAC is expected to add 350 billion won ($300 million) to the company's outstanding debt of 1.06 trillion won," said Kim Yeon-su, an analyst at NICE Investors Service.
"Factors that are weighing on the company are its M&A deals since 2016, including the acquisition of Hanwha Defense (the former Doosan DST), Hanwha Systems, and the group's other aerospace and machine tool business units," Kim said.
The agency, however, said Hanwha Aerospace's financial burden could ease if it successfully takes Hanwha Systems public. The company, which has a 52.9 percent stake in Hanwha Systems, could secure a substantial amount of cash by selling shares.
When asked how the company can tackle the growing financial pressure, Hanwha Aerospace said it was not worried because EDAC has stable assets and a stable cash flow.
"We actually believe our financial situation will be better after we acquire EDAC," a company official said. "By adding EDAC to our value, we aim to expand our aircraft engine parts business."
The company said that although it is reviewing an initial public offering for Hanwha Systems, the timing is undecided, adding it would have minimal impact on the firm.
Established in 1946, EDAC is a component maker for aircraft engines and airframes based in Connecticut. Its main clients include Pratt & Whitney, General Electric and Rolls-Royce.