Moody's Investors Service upgraded
the senior unsecured debt rating of Newport News Shipbuilding, Inc. (NNS) to Ba1 from Ba2 to reflect the company's improving operating and cash flow performance, and its strengthening business outlook and balance sheet, Moody's reported. The ratings also incorporate its still-weak balance sheet, notwithstanding the recent gradual improvements.
Positive cash flows have led to reduced debt levels, Moody's said, which together with its expanded equity base (through retained profits), have led to a somewhat stronger, albeit still leveraged balance sheet. The company's outlook has also improved as a result of the resurgence of growth in the U.S. defense spending.