CHICAGO — Standard & Poor's Wednesday downgraded Detroit four notches based on the likelihood that the city will adjust payments to bondholders or file for bankruptcy.
The ratings agency cut its rating to CCC-minus from B on the city's unlimited and limited tax general obligation bonds and its pension certificates.
The downgrade comes two days before Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr will meet with creditors, including bondholders, insurers, and banks, Friday morning at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
"The downgrade is based on recent announcements from the city's emergency financial manager that Detroit may take steps to adjust payments to bondholders, as well as immediate plans to meet with bondholders to discuss the city's financial condition and resources," S&P analyst Jane Hudson Ridley said in the downgrade report.
"A CCC-minus rating reflects Standard & Poor's view of entities that have announced an intention to undertake a debt restructuring," the report said. "Should Detroit move to restructure its debt with principal reductions or other changes that negatively affect the full or timely payment to bondholders — or wherein the investor will receive less than the promise of the original securities — we would view this as a selective default."
The outlook is negative. S&P had revised its outlook to stable from negative in March, when Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Orr to the position.