Moody Drops Metropolitan Opera’s Bond Credit Rating

By David Salazar

It has not been a particularly good few weeks for the Metropolitan Opera, which is set to lose around $60 million after canceling the remainder of the 2019-20 season, has now seen the ratings on $89 million bonds cut from Baa2 to Ba1.

According to Bloomberg News, Moody’s Investor Services downgraded the company’s taxable municipal debt to levels and revised its outlook to negative. This means that the company could see its rating drop yet again.

“Because the opera operates with very thin liquidity, including high reliance on an operating line of credit, this social disruption and the public health emergency has a heightened credit impact,” said a statement by Moody’s.

Baa2 belong to a tier defined as “An obligor has ADEQUATE capacity to meet its financial commitments. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitments.”

Ba1 is one tier lower and defined as “An obligor is LESS VULNERABLE in the near term than other lower-rated obligors. However, it faces major ongoing uncertainties and exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic conditions which could lead to the obligor’s inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitments.”

This news comes in the midst of the company initiating an aggressive campaign to recoup funds. The company recently sent out an email to all Met Opera relations calling for urgent help to raise money for the institution. The company has received some criticism for this move as many of the recipients of this call to action were employees who were recently furloughed due to the coronavirus crisis.

Nonetheless, the campaign has, to this point, raised $20 million.

The article also noted that the Met’s line of credit is at $67 million and the company drew as much as $36.5 million in July 31, 2018.