TOKYO: Moody’s cut its rating on Nissan by one notch on Friday, citing weak sales in the United States and casting a shadow on the Japanese automaker’s move to improve its business following a decline in its annual profit.
Nissan — hit by former Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s arrest last year and troubles at its North American business — reported a 45 percent plunge in annual operating profit in the year ending March, and forecast a 28 percent drop in profit this fiscal year.
Moody’s cut its rating of Nissan’s credit to “A3” from “A2,” adding that the outlook was negative.
“The downgrade reflects the continuing slide in Nissan’s profitability, driven by weak sales in the US, its largest market,” Moody’s Vice President Motoki Yanase said in a statement.
While Nissan’s new strategy focuses on margin over unit sales growth and refreshing old models to improve its brand value, the ratings agency expects the overhaul will take “several years.”
“The negative outlook on Nissan reflects execution risk as Nissan implements its business strategies globally, reforms its corporate governance and stabilizes its alliance with Renault,” it said.
France’s Renault is the top shareholder in Nissan.