DBRS Ltd. has put its ratings for GMP Capital Inc. “under review with negative implications” after the brokerage firm announced that it is cutting 25% of its workforce and closing offices in the U.K. and Australia in an effort to take $40 million in annual costs out of the business, the Toronto-based credit rating agency announced on Thursday.
Toronto-based GMP also suspended its dividend, and indicated that it would take a $15 million charge against fourth quarter earnings to reflect the restructuring costs.
See: GMP announces staff cuts and office closures
The credit rating agency expects GMP to report a loss for the fourth quarter, and for the full year 2015, following the restructuring charge, the DBRS announcements says.
The “fundamental organizational changes … have the potential to have an impact on the company’s franchise positioning and further weaken its earnings generation ability,” the DBRS announcement says.
DBRS indicates that its review will focus on the impact that GMP’s reorganization will have on the company’s competitive position, given the closure of the international offices and the streamlining of its franchise in Canada. It will also consider the impact of the cuts on its U.S. energy business, “and the potential for the company to lose ground relative to larger peers who have more resources to adapt and invest during this sustained downturn in the energy markets,” the announcement says.
DBRS adds it will examine the ongoing weakness in the brokerage’s earnings. “While GMP’s intention is to improve earnings over the longer term by reducing fixed costs … the near- to medium-term results will likely be pressured by the very adverse market environment, given the challenges posed by the dramatic decline in oil and gas prices, especially if the company’s franchise position is weakened during its restructuring,” the credit rating agency says.
Any downgrade to the ratings on GMP will consider various factors, DBRS says, including the company’s vulnerability to the uncertain economic outlook and market conditions, the degree to which its franchise strength has been impaired, the sufficiency and quality of its capital, and the potential for it to return to sustained profitability.