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Zombie Firms Face Slow Death in US as Era of Easy Credit Ends

  • Rising rates are reshaping the corporate borrowing landscape
  • Companies kept alive by cheap, plentiful debt face reckoning
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End of Easy Credit May Mean Slow Death for Zombie Firms

They are creations of easy credit, beneficiaries of central bank largesse. And now that the era of unconventional monetary policy is over, they’re facing a challenge like never before. 

They are America’s corporate zombies, companies that aren’t earning enough to cover their interest expenses, let alone turn a profit. From meme-stock favorite AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. to household names such as American Airlines Group Inc. and Carnival Corp., their ranks have swelled in recent years, comprising roughly a fifth of the country’s 3,000 largest publicly-traded companies and accounting for about $900 billion of debt.