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Fitch Affirms Avnet's Ratings at 'BBB-'; Outlook Stable



  Fitch Affirms Avnet's Ratings at 'BBB-'; Outlook Stable

Business Wire

NEW YORK -- December 05, 2012

Fitch Ratings has affirmed the ratings for Avnet, Inc. (Avnet) as follows:

--Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BBB-';

--Senior unsecured bank credit facility at 'BBB-';

--Senior unsecured notes at 'BBB-'.

The Rating Outlook is Stable.

Fitch's stable outlook for IT distributors in 2013 reflects the companies'
strong liquidity and countercyclical cash flows which help offset Fitch's
expectations for a difficult competitive environment and softening end market
demand. Fitch's base scenario is for flat to modestly negative revenue change
in 2013, although risk is weighted to the downside with the potential for a
cyclical decline pending global economic conditions. Fitch views a reasonable
stress scenario for the distributors at this point in time as consisting of a
double digit decline in 2013 continuing through part of 2014. Under both
scenarios, Fitch would expect significant margin compression but for EBITDA
margins to remain positive across the sector. Free cash flow (FCF) generation
would likely be significantly positive, given the expected resulting decline
in working-capital balances under such a scenario.

Fitch believes Avnet would maintain its investment-grade ratings under such a
scenario. This assumes cash generated from working-capital declines does not
go to shareholders or aggressive acquisitions that would ultimately result in
higher leverage once growth returns and working capital would be expected to
increase. Fitch would be concerned if revenues declined from a loss of market
share, either to other distributors or suppliers increasingly going direct to
market.

The ratings and Outlook incorporate the above considerations as well as the
following:

--Fitch expects mid-single digit organic revenue declines in fiscal 2013 as
Avnet manages choppy end market demand and macroeconomic concerns. Fitch
expects EBITDA margins (currently 4.1% for the latest 12 months [LTM] ending
Sept. 29, 2012) to continue to compress given slowing end market demand. In a
stress scenario, Fitch would expect EBITDA margins to decline to levels near
the trough of the last downturn, roughly 3%, or moderately lower if revenue
declines are more severe. In a flat revenue environment, Fitch estimates Avnet
would generate approximately $500 million in annual FCF. In a stress scenario,
Fitch would expect working capital cash inflows to roughly offset lower EBITDA
levels and FCF to be near $500 million.

--The ratings incorporate expectations that Avnet would maintain leverage
(total debt to total operating EBITDA) of 2.5 times (x) or below (3.0x when
adjusted operating leases) given Avnet's business model and credit profile.
Fitch estimates current leverage at 2.3x (2.8x on an adjusted basis) and
interest coverage at 11x.

--Fitch expects uses of cash flow and excess cash will principally go to fund
organic growth, working capital needs, potential small acquisitions, and share
repurchases. Avnet has repurchased $365 million of shares in the LTM, with an
additional $293 million in remaining repurchase authorization. Fitch believes
Avnet has headroom for a moderate amount of share repurchases given
substantial liquidity and the cash generative nature of the business. However,
aggressive shareholder-friendly actions in the face of increasing
macroeconomic uncertainty could pressure ratings if such action would be
expected to ultimately result in higher leverage once growth returns. Fitch
believes Avnet could potentially pursue debt-financed acquisitions resulting
in higher than expected leverage if opportunities arise going forward. Such a
scenario could pressure ratings if Fitch did not reasonably expect that Avnet
would reduce leverage closer to historical levels in the short-run through the
use of FCF for debt reduction and EBITDA growth.

Credit strengths include Avnet's leading market positions in both component
and enterprise computing distribution worldwide; the ability to generate cash
from operations in a normal growth environment, as well as achieve significant
FCF in a downturn from reduced working capital; a highly diversified customer
base and well-diversified supplier base with only IBM representing greater
than 10% of revenue as of July 2012.

Credit concerns include Avnet's thin operating margins, which are typical of
the IT distribution market; significant investment levels required to increase
share in the faster-growing Asia-Pacific region, including potentially
debt-financed acquisitions; integration risk stemming from Avnet's acquisition
growth strategy; Avnet's exposure to the cyclical demand patterns and cash
flows associated with the semiconductor and networking sectors; and the
potential for future debt-financed share-repurchase programs.

Fitch assumes Avnet's $350 million 10-year note issuance in November 2012 will
be used to pay down short-term debt outstanding under its credit facilities.
Pro forma total available liquidity is estimated at $2 billion consisting of:
$1 billion of cash and cash equivalents as of Oct. 1; $1 billion under Avnet's
senior unsecured bank credit facility expiring November 2016; and $89 million
available under the upsized $800 million A/R securitization facility expiring
August 2013. Aside from the A/R securitization facility debt, Avnet's next
scheduled maturity is $300 million of notes in 2014.

Fitch believes Avnet's total debt, pro forma for its recent $350 million
issuance, is approximately $2.2 billion and consists of:

--$711 million drawn on the company's $800 million A/R securitization facility
expiring August 2013;

--$300 million 5.875% senior notes due March 2014;

--$250 million 6% senior notes due September 2015;

--$300 million 6.625% senior notes due September 2016;

--$300 million 5.875% senior notes due June 2020;

--$350 million 4.875% senior notes due November 2022.

WHAT COULD TRIGGER A RATING ACTION

Negative: Future developments that may, individually or collectively, lead to
negative rating action include:

--Revenue declines that signal a loss of market share, either to other
distributors or suppliers increasingly going direct to market;

--Severe operating margin compression resulting from intense competition;

--Significant debt-financed acquisitions and/or share repurchases,
particularly if funded from cash generated from working capital declines.

Positive: Upside movement in the ratings is unlikely given Avnet's the
razor-thin operating margin profile with significant cyclical demand exposure.

Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'. The ratings
above were unsolicited and have been provided by Fitch as a service to
investors.

Applicable Criteria and Related Research:

--'Corporate Rating Methodology', dated Aug. 8, 2012;

--'Evaluating Corporate Governance', dated Dec. 13, 2011;

--'Rating Technology Companies', dated Aug. 9, 2012.

Applicable Criteria and Related Research:

Corporate Rating Methodology

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=684460

Evaluating Corporate Governance

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=657143

Rating Technology Companies

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=682324

ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS.
PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK:
HTTP://FITCHRATINGS.COM/UNDERSTANDINGCREDITRATINGS. IN ADDITION, RATING
DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY'S
PUBLIC WEBSITE 'WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM'. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND
METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF
CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL,
COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM
THE 'CODE OF CONDUCT' SECTION OF THIS SITE.

Contact:

Fitch Ratings
Primary Analyst
Brian Taylor, CFA
Associate Director
+1-212-908-0620
Fitch, Inc.
One State Street Plaza
New York, NY 10004
or
Secondary Analyst
Jason Paraschac, CFA
Senior Director
+1-212-908-0746
or
Committee Chairperson
Jamie Rizzo, CFA
Senior Director
+1-212-908-0548
or
Media Relations:
Brian Bertsch, +1-212-908-0549 (New York)
brian.bertsch@fitchratings.com
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