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The Bottom Rung

In an economy plagued by tight credit markets, it is sometimes difficult to determine which companies can cover their debts, and which ones are in serious trouble. In Moody’s “U.S. Bottom Rung” report, the ratings agency lists the 283 speculative-grade, non-financial U.S. companies most at risk of default, up from 157 companies one year ago. Companies on the list have not defaulted, carry either a Probability of Default Rating of Caa1 or lower, a B3 with a negative rating outlook, or a B3 with a rating under review for a downgrade.

We took a look at the companies on the list with the largest amount of total rated debt, and listed the 15 companies with the worst probability of default ratings, according to Moody’s. However, there are several notable firms in Moody’s report that are outside these 15, and here they are, listed with their probability of default rating (Caa3 is the lowest): Duane Reade, (Private, Caa2), JetBlue Airways (JBLU, Caa2), Dole Food Company (Private, Caa1), Blockbuster, (BBI Caa1), General Motors (Ca), Eastman Kodak (EK, B3), Michaels Stores, (Private, B3), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD, B3), and Arby’s Restaurant Group (Private, B3), among others.

So what are the companies at the greatest risk for default according to Moody’s? Click ahead to find out!

Posted 11 Mar 2009

Source: Moody’s Investors Service