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BAX's initiatives could be strategically constructive if executed effectively, and proceeds from the proposed transactions could accelerate debt repayment. Impact of the Divestiture s : The proposed spin-off of BAX's Renal Care and Acute Therapies business units and the potential sale of its BPS business could be strategically constructive given the limited synergies between these business units and the remaining portfolio.
The proposed transactions' effect on BAX's credit profile will largely depend on the amount of proceeds paid to BAX and use of those proceeds. The company is maintaining a net leverage commitment of 2.
Although BAX's business profile will be negatively affected by the reduction in scale and diversification, a leaner product portfolio may allow management to more efficiently execute on operation optimization, supply chain management, and core portfolio growth. The RWN reflects the transaction's significant impact that the transaction could have on BAX's overall credit profile given the limited information available on terms of the transactions and segment financials.
Multiple Macroeconomic Headwinds: BAX's operating performance has been stressed by macroeconomic headwinds, including foreign exchange headwinds, increased freight costs, inflation that leads to higher input and labor prices, hospital staff shortages that lead to delay in certain product installations.
Most significantly, supply chain challenges have limited the company's access to raw materials and electromechanical components, which resulted in some unplanned manufacturing facility stoppages and all-time high backorders. Fitch's ratings case expects these headwinds to persist into and assumes BAX is able to mitigate some of the pressures through potential additional price increases and materialization of ongoing efforts in supply chain management and cost improvement initiatives.
Health-Essential Product Portfolio: BAX provides medically necessary products, with leading market positions in many of its categories, and many of its products are capital intensive and require significant manufacturing expertise. Its products maintain market share through differentiation on delivery method, quality manufacturing and the scale necessary to compete against other established manufacturers. The company's Front Line Care business is amongst the more negatively affected by the shortage of electromechanical parts, but demand remains strong as evidenced by an accumulation in backlog.
Some of BAX's back orders that have not been fulfilled in a timely fashion translated into permanent revenue loss. The company's Patient Support Systems and Global Surgical Solutions businesses are negatively affected by delay in product installations due to staff shortages and could be further affected by potential slowdown in hospital capital spending over recessionary concerns.
Fitch expects capital sales demand to recover and partially catch up once the macroenvironment pressures alleviate. Diversification Supports Down-Cycle Demand: The company's business model is fairly diversified from a product and geographic perspective and focuses on a chronic and critical care patient category. Fitch believes the critical nature of BAX's global business should help support relatively stable cash flows during economic downturns. The acquisition of Hill-Rom increased the company's product diversification profile.
Commitment to New Products: BAX is also focused on improving its global core portfolio, and continuing to evaluate potential its portfolio rationalization opportunities. The company continues to reallocate its investments into higher-margin, faster-growing businesses and is focusing on material improvements to existing technologies and entirely new offerings.
Fitch expects near- and mid-term pipeline launches will continue to support mid-single-digit growth over the forecast. Solid FCF to Continue: Despite the near-term macroeconomic pressures, Fitch anticipates that BAX will continue to generate solid FCF, driven by moderate organic growth supported by its product pipeline and recent acquisitions.
Margins should return to gradual expansion through favorable product mix shift, meaningful acquisition-related cost synergies and some normal cost rationalization.
BAX is a large, diversified medical-device firm focused on renal and hospital products. The company's products are used by hospitals, kidney dialysis centers, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and patients at home under physician supervision. Although BAX has global scale and reach, it is smaller and has a narrower focus than its largest medical device peers. BAX is a leader in the categories in which it competes.
Demand for the company's products is relatively reliable, although revenues are modestly sensitive to the macroeconomic environment through reimbursement rates pricing and hospital capex and, to a lesser extent, utilization. Given BAX's combination of assets, it has no direct rated comparator. The approach taken is a weak parent Baxter International Inc. Under its Parent-Subsidiary Linkage criteria, Fitch concludes that there is open ring-fencing and access and control.
As such, Fitch rates the parent and subsidiary at the consolidated level with no notching between the two. Baxter International Inc. The data subject can also lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority. The data will be processed both with computer tools and on paper and using any other type of suitable support in compliance with security measures pursuant to the GDPR.
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