You are currently viewing our desktop site, do you want to download our app instead?
Moneyweb Android App Moneyweb iOS App Moneyweb Mobile Web App
Join our mailing list to receive top business news every weekday morning.

WeWork default is a real possibility, Fitch Ratings warns

Ratings agency lowers start-up’s long-term issuer default rating to CCC from CCC+.
A sign marks the location of a WeWork office facility on August 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Fitch Ratings downgraded troubled co-working company WeWork and warned that the once high-flying startup could default on its obligations.

On Thursday, the agency said it lowered the company’s long-term issuer default rating to CCC from CCC+. That indicates “substantial credit risk” and suggests “default is a real possibility,” according to Fitch’s rating scale.

Fitch cited the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on WeWork’s already struggling business model. The startup tried and failed to go public late last year. The spread of the coronavirus worsened WeWork’s predicament as people opted to work from home, rather than in the communal offices the company rents out.

WeWork leadership has maintained that as businesses look for more flexible options for office space, they will increasingly turn to WeWork’s buildings. The pandemic could upend the traditional office market, sending more people looking for independent work space, an outcome that could eventually be good news for WeWork.

But if a fresh wave of Covid-19 cases materializes, or demand for office space declines structurally, Fitch estimated that WeWork would burn through about $1.5 billion of cash in both 2021 and 2022. In that scenario, WeWork would have to seek “additional liquidity, the availability of which is highly uncertain,” the agency said.

While WeWork’s largest investor, SoftBank Group Corp. has provided substantial support to the company, “it is unclear that further funding would be available in a distressed scenario,” Fitch wrote. WeWork declined to comment.

WeWork’s bonds maturing in 2025 last traded at about 63 cents on the dollar, according to Trace pricing data.

© 2020 Bloomberg

COMMENTS   0

You must be signed in to comment.

SIGN IN SIGN UP

LATEST CURRENCIES  

USD / ZAR
GBP / ZAR
EUR / ZAR

Podcasts

NEWSLETTERS WEB APP SHOP PORTFOLIO TOOL TRENDING CPD HUB

Follow us:

Search Articles:Advanced Search
Click a Company: