28.08.2012 03:47
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Tencent Holdings Limited -- Moody's assigns Baa1 to Tencent's proposed bonds; outlook stable

Hong Kong, August 28, 2012 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned a Baa1 rating to Tencent Holding Limited's proposed bond issuance.

These bonds will be issued under similar terms and conditions as those issued in December 2011.

At the same time, Moody's has affirmed Tencent's Baa1 issuer rating.

The rating outlook is stable.

The net proceeds of the bonds will be used for general corporate purposes.

RATINGS RATIONALE

"The bond issuance will mildly affect Tencent's credit metrics, with proforma adjusted Debt/EBITDA for the last 12 months rising to 0.7x from 0.5x, which is still strong for its rating level. At the same time, the issuance will further enhance the company's already strong balance sheet liquidity, which includes cash on hand of over RMB 27 billion as of end-June 2012," says Jonathan Lee, a Moody's Vice President and Senior Analyst.

"Tencent's 2Q 2012 financial performance was in line with expectations. Despite a contraction in its EBITDA margin, the company showed a robust year-on-year growth in revenue of 56.2%. This included a steady increase in user bases for various social networking service platforms and online gaming," adds Lee, also the lead analyst for Tencent.

"Meanwhile, Tencent will continue to monetize its strong user base and traffic volume through its open platform strategy and boost online advertising revenue, which rose a remarkable 72% year-on-year, despite the Mainland's slowing economy," continues Lee.

Moody's expects Tencent will prudently execute its merger and acquisition strategy and e-commerce investments, and therefore such an approach will not substantially weaken the company's financial strength.

The Baa1 ratings continue to reflect Tencent's leading position in the social networking services and online game segments in China. It also reflects favorable industry trends, under which Tencent has achieved good growth in its user base and implemented gradual monetization for the purposes of sustainable cash flow generation.

The rating considers its stable revenue from a large customer base, which, in turn, results in sound financials of low debt leverage and a strong cash position.

However, the rating is constrained at the Baa1 level by three key factors: a) a relatively short track record for its current scale, b) operating challenges in the fast-evolving internet industry, and c) regulatory risks for its business and corporate structure.

The stable outlook reflects Moody's expectation that Tencent maintains a strong financial profile and leadership in China's internet market, while pursuing small acquisition opportunities to complement its business model.

Upward rating pressure is limited in the near to medium term. However, the rating could be upgraded over the longer term if the company: 1) successfully executes its strategy to grow overseas revenue and enhance its presence in the e-commerce and advertising businesses, 2) lowers reliance on its top five games in terms of their revenue contribution through introducing more blockbuster games, 3) maintains its current strong credit metrics, with adjusted Debt/EBITDA below 1.0x and its net cash position on a sustained basis; and at the same time the regulatory uncertainty over the variable interest entity structure is cleared.

On the other hand, downward rating pressure may arise if the company: 1) fails to fend off competition, such that its active user base erodes, affecting monetization and cash flow generation, 2) engages in aggressive acquisitions that would pressure its balance sheet liquidity, or raises its overall risk profile, 3) undertakes an aggressive dividend policy that would weaken its balance sheet liquidity, or there is evidence of cash leakage to its parent or related companies, and/or 4) its credit profile weakens, with adjusted Debt/EBITDA exceeding 1.5-2.0x, and turns into a net debt position.

Furthermore, negative developments in the regulatory regime that could affect Tencent's operations or business model will be negative for the rating.

Tencent Holdings Limited's ratings were assigned by evaluating factors that Moody's considers relevant to the credit profile of the issuer, such as the company's (i) business risk and competitive position compared with others within the industry; (ii) capital structure and financial risk; (iii) projected performance over the near to intermediate term; and (iv) management's track record and tolerance for risk. Moody's compared these attributes against other issuers both within and outside Tencent Holdings Limited's core industry and believes Tencent Holdings Limited's ratings are comparable to those of other issuers with similar credit risk.

Tencent is one of the largest providers of internet services, operating leading social networking services (SNS), online portals and online game platforms in China. It generated RMB 35.6 billion ($5.5 billion) of revenue and RMB16.3 billion ($2.5 billion) of adjusted EBITDA in the 12 months to June 2012. Tencent is approximately 34% owned by Naspers Limited (Baa3/stable).

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

The Global Scale Credit Ratings on this press release that are issued by one of Moody's affiliates outside the EU are endorsed by Moody's Investors Service Ltd., One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E 14 5FA, UK, in accordance with Art.4 paragraph 3 of the Regulation (EC) No 1060/2009 on Credit Rating Agencies. Further information on the EU endorsement status and on the Moody's office that has issued a particular Credit Rating is available on www.moodys.com.

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides relevant regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides relevant regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides relevant regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

The rating has been disclosed to the rated entity or its designated agent(s) and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

Information sources used to prepare the rating are the following: parties involved in the ratings, public information, and confidential and proprietary Moody's Investors Service information.

Moody's considers the quality of information available on the rated entity, obligation or credit satisfactory for the purposes of issuing a rating.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a rating is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, Moody's is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Please see the ratings disclosure page on www.moodys.com for general disclosure on potential conflicts of interests.

Please see the ratings disclosure page on www.moodys.com for information on (A) MCO's major shareholders (above 5%) and for (B) further information regarding certain affiliations that may exist between directors of MCO and rated entities as well as (C) the names of entities that hold ratings from MIS that have also publicly reported to the SEC an ownership interest in MCO of more than 5%. A member of the board of directors of this rated entity may also be a member of the board of directors of a shareholder of Moody's Corporation; however, Moody's has not independently verified this matter.

Please see Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions on the Rating Process page on www.moodys.com for further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history.

The date on which some ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Jonathan Chien Tsung Lee Vice President - Senior Analyst Corporate Finance Group Moody'sInvestors Service Hong Kong Ltd. 24/F One Pacific Place 88 Queensway Hong Kong China (Hong Kong S.A.R.) JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350 SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077 Gary Lau MD - Corporate Finance Corporate Finance Group JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350 SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077 Releasing Office: Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd. 24/F One Pacific Place 88 Queensway Hong Kong China (Hong Kong S.A.R.) JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350 SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077 (C) 2012 Moody's Investors Service, Inc. and/or its licensors and affiliates (collectively, "MOODY'S"). All rights reserved.

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MIS, a wholly-owned credit rating agency subsidiary of Moody's Corporation ("MCO"), hereby discloses that most issuers of debt securities (including corporate and municipal bonds, debentures, notes and commercial paper) and preferred stock rated by MIS have, prior to assignment of any rating, agreed to pay to MIS for appraisal and rating services rendered by it fees ranging from $1,500 to approximately $2,500,000. MCO and MIS also maintain policies and procedures to address the independence of MIS's ratings and rating processes. Information regarding certain affiliations that may exist between directors of MCO and rated entities, and between entities who hold ratings from MIS and have also publicly reported to the SEC an ownership interest in MCO of more than 5%, is posted annually at www.moodys.com under the heading "Shareholder Relations -- Corporate Governance -- Director and Shareholder Affiliation Policy."

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19.01.2012Tencent reduceNomura
02.12.2011Tencent reduceNomura
11.11.2011Tencent underperformMacquarie Research
10.11.2011Tencent kaufenDer Aktionär
18.10.2011Tencent buyNomura
10.11.2011Tencent kaufenDer Aktionär
18.10.2011Tencent buyNomura
14.07.2011Tencent kaufenAsia Investor
21.06.2011Tencent kaufenAsia Investor
10.02.2011Tencent kaufenDer Aktionär
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19.01.2012Tencent reduceNomura
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