PARIS (Feb. 11)—Standard & Poor's Rating Services put Groupe Michelin and nine other European companies on CreditWatch, meaning their ratings are under review, after studying unfunded post-retirement liabilities at the companies. S&P said it based its analysis on estimates of the value of equity assets in each company's pension fund at year-end 2002. The idea, an analyst said, is that the post-retirement liabilities are debt-like in nature, especially considering the continuing rise in health care costs and a weakened global economic environment. S&P listed Michelin's rating at BBB+, and said the rating can be either affirmed or downgraded based on further discussions with Michelin, which should take about two months. Michelin acknowledged the rating but said the decision isn´t based on new information from the company, and instead reflects a change in S&P's methodology.
S&P reviewing Groupe Michelin´s rating
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