S&P Global Ratings lowered its long-term issuer credit rating on Boeing, due to uncertainty about when the timing of 737 MAX jetliner’s return to service.
S&P downgraded its rating on Boeing to A-minus from A, and also lowered the short-term rating to A-2 from A-1. The rating agency cited uncertainty over when the 737 MAX will return to service, the risk to the supply chain from the planned production halt, and possible long-term impact to Boeing's competitive position as factors behind the downgrade.
In March, the 737 MAX was grounded following two fatal crashes. On Monday, Boeing said it would cease production of the 737 MAX in January as the aircraft model’s return to flight faces delays .
S&P indicated that the supply chain for the MAX is global and very complex – something that could potentially make halting and restarting costly and challenging.
S&P said it could boost its rating on Boeing in the next two years if the aircraft manufacturer resumes MAX deliveries and works down the backlog of MAX aircraft built during the grounding. Boeing would also have to ramp up production to 57 a month, reduce debt used to support liquidity during the grounding, avoid large order cancellations or a substantial loss in share in the narrow-body market, and ensure that the MAX production halt does not materially disrupt the supply chain.