STAMFORD, CT – September 7, 2012 – Harman International Industries, Incorporated, the leading global audio and infotainment group (NYSE: HAR) today announced that Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (“S&P”) has raised the Company’s corporate credit rating to the investment grade ‘BBB-’ from ‘BB+’, citing improved margins and lower business risk.S&P also raised the issue rating on the company's senior unsecured notes to 'BB+' from 'BB'.
In its statement, S&P commented that it expects the company will “continue a leadership position”, especially in the automotive audio and infotainment segments, with profitability at or above double-digit EBITDA margins. S&P also noted it expects HARMAN to expand both the automotive customers it supplies, and its global manufacturing presence. S&P noted its belief that HARMAN’s products can withstand competitive threats and the risk of commoditization, citing its expectation that the Company will “continue to successfully innovate its software and hard-ware based product lines”. S&P describes HARMAN’s liquidity as “strong”, and believes the company will be able to comfortably manage its $400 million October 2012 debt maturity with cash on hand or alternative borrowing.
“This investment-grade rating from S&P is a further validation of HARMAN’s growth strategy and relentless cost focus that has delivered 11 consecutive quarters of aggressive top and bottom line growth” said HARMAN Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dinesh C. Paliwal. “The Company’s $16.1 billion order backlog in infotainment and premium branded audio is a clear demonstration of our continued leadership in innovation and customer satisfaction. At the same time, we’ve returned value to shareholders through dividend increases, and delivered earnings per share growth of over 40 percent in the last year. With our scalable global footprint and capital structure firmly in place, we are well positioned to capitalize on growth opportunities and deliver continued financial performance.”
HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets — supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson®. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 13,400 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported net sales of $4.4 billion for the twelve months ending June 30, 2012. The Company's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NYSE:HAR.