Wednesday 25 March 2020 3:53 pm

Fitch offers UK firms free ratings to access Covid-19 funds

Ratings agency Fitch is offering unrated UK firms free ratings so they can become eligible for help from the Bank of England (BoE). 

The agency is offering a range of products, some free of charge, to help access a BoE facility to support businesses throughout the coronavirus outbreak. 

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“In the current unprecedented and volatile situation, we are being flexible with the commercial arrangements for these products, up to and including there being no charge depending on the specific circumstances of individual companies and their existing capital markets activities,” Fitch said in a statement. 

Products offered include short-term public ratings, short term private ratings and private credit opinions, all accepted by the BoE.

The Treasury and BoE launched the lending facility, named the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF), last week.

It is designed to support liquidity among larger firms, helping them to bridge the disruption to their cash flows through the purchase of short-term debt in the form of commercial paper. 

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The bank said: “The facility will offer financing on terms comparable to those prevailing in markets in the period before the Covid-19 economic shock, and will be open to firms that can demonstrate they were in sound financial health prior to the shock.”

Corporate borrowers need to be investment grade or able to meet investment grade standard as of 1 March to access the CCFF. 

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