Financing policy and credit ratings
- Financing principles remain unchanged
- “A” ratings conﬁrmed
Our ﬁnancing policy is aimed at ensuring our solvency at all times, limiting the risks associated with ﬁnancing and optimizing our cost of capital. We preferably meet our ﬁnancing needs on international capital markets.
We strive to maintain at least a solid “A” rating, which allows us unrestricted access to money and capital markets. Our financing measures are aligned with our operative business planning as well as the company’s strategic direction and also ensure the financial flexibility to take advantage of strategic options.
BASF has good credit ratings, especially in comparison with competitors in the chemical industry. Rating agency Moody’s last confirmed their rating of “A1/P-1/outlook stable” on November 4, 2015. Standard & Poor’s adjusted the outlook of their “A+/A-1” rating to “negative” on April 10, 2015. This was primarily because of an increase in pension provisions as a result of lower capital market interest rates.
We have solid financing. Corporate bonds form the basis of our medium to long-term debt financing. These are issued in euros and other currencies with different maturities as part of our €20 billion debt issuance program. The goal is to create a balanced maturity profile and diverse range of investors, and to optimize our debt capital financing conditions.
For short-term ﬁnancing, we use BASF SE’s U.S. dollar commercial paper program, which has an issuing volume of up to $12.5 billion. On December 31, 2015, $1,869 million worth of commercial paper was outstanding under this program. Firmly committed, syndicated credit lines of €6 billion serve to cover the repayment of outstanding commercial paper, and can also be used for general company purposes.
These credit lines were not used at any point in 2015. Our external financing is therefore largely independent of short-term fluctuations in the credit markets.
Off-balance-sheet financing tools, such as leasing, are of minor importance to us. BASF Group’s most important ﬁnancial contracts contain no side agreements with regard to speciﬁc ﬁnancial ratios (ﬁnancial covenants) or compliance with a speciﬁc rating (rating trigger).
To minimize risks and exploit internal optimization potential within the Group, we bundle the ﬁnancing, ﬁnancial investments and foreign currency hedging of BASF SE’s subsidiaries within the BASF Group where possible. Foreign currency risks are primarily hedged centrally by means of derivative financial instruments in the market.
Our interest risk management generally pursues the goal of reducing interest expenses for the Group and minimizing interest risks. Interest rate hedging transactions are therefore conducted with banks in order to turn selected capital market liabilities from fixed interest to variable rate or vice versa.