x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Moody's withdraws Saad rating

This is followed a similar move by Standard and Poor's, which also withdrew its rating this week.

Saad Group, the Saudi investment firm run by billionaire Maan al Sanea, lost its rating from Moody's on Wednesday. It followed a similar move by Standard and Poor's, which also withdrew its rating this week. Saad Group, with interests that range from banking to civil engineering and healthcare, earlier admitted financial difficulties and stopped servicing all debt payments. The company pledged an "orderly restructuring" to handle the "short-term liquidity freeze" and later named BDO Capital Finance for the restructuring.

Moody's said it withdrew its rating due to a "lack of adequate information," an explanation echoed by competitor Standard & Poor's. Moody's on Monday lowered Saad Group's rating to non-investment grade, or B1, from the earlier Baa1 on review for further downgrade. According to reports the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority has frozen accounts belonging to Mr al Sanea, who set up Saad in the 1980s and who is one of Saudi Arabia's most prominent businessmen. He is also one of the largest shareholders in HSBC and Samba Financial Group.

"The circumstances surrounding the regulatory freeze, including the motivation of the regulators, are not publicly known," Standard & Poor's said. uharnischfeger@thenational.ae