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S&P raises Harman Int'l corporate credit rating

September 7, 2012
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STAMFORD, Conn.—Standard & Poor's Ratings Services boosted Harman International Industries Inc.'s corporate credit rating to investment grade from junk status on Friday, citing the automotive electronics and audio equipment maker's better margins and lower business risk.

The ratings agency increased the corporate credit rating to investment grade "BBB-" from "BB+," or junk status. It also lifted the issue rating on its senior unsecured notes one notch in junk status to "BB+" from "BB."

A higher rating can mean lower borrowing costs. An investment grade rating also broadens the pool of potential buyers for a company's debt. Some big investors like pension funds are barred from holding junk-rated debt.

S&P said that it expects Harman to bolster its worldwide manufacturing presence and serve more automotive customers. The ratings agency believes the Stamford, Conn., company's liquidity is strong and that it will be able to hold off competitive pressure.

Last month Harman reported that its fourth-quarter net income more than doubled on strong demand for products used in luxury cars and growing sales in mainstream autos.

Shares of Harman rose 78 cents to $48.20 in morning trading. They are still 9 below their 52-week high of $52.75 set in late April. Its shares traded as low as $25.63 last October.

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