First Looks: Standard & Poor’s Fundamentals of Corporate Credit Analysis

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An authoritative, in-depth guide to all aspects of credit analysis from the experts at Standard & Poor’s

Credit analysis-gauging an issuer’s ability to repay interest and principal on a bond issue-plays an essential role in determining how bond issues are rated and priced. Fundamentals of Corporate Credit Analysis provides both analysts and investors with the practical, up-to-date information they need, backed by Standard & Poor’s research, data, and experience, to properly assess the credit risk of virtually any entity.

Whether used as a handy all-in-one guide or as a comprehensive training tool, it will give anyone the knowledge and tools needed to dig beneath standard ratings and determine an organization’s true creditworthiness.


I had the pleasure of working with one of the authors 15 years ago. But don’t let that sway you. I truly appreciate the scope and effort put into this book. We will use it as an outline for how our analysts should approach analyzing a credit. Chapter 3 alone is worth the price of admission as the authors list the elusive “qualitative” factors that go into a credit rating, beyond what the ratios tell you it should be. While the book barely scratches the surface of certain analytical methods (the Merton Model got 1/2 a page), and it is written more for the layman or student, I still learned many things. And I’ve been in the business 20+ years. The prior reviewer, and many others will say they wished they wrote this book. I will too. I even briefly started my own version recently. But I first turned to S&P’s ratings criteria as an outline. As such, the right people wrote this book. The authors fully used the vast resources and data mining of S&P. This certainly feels like a team effort. The telecom analyst wrote a piece on the rapid decline of telecom credits in 2000-2002, and other professionals added real life examples. The book organizes itself in the top down approach to analysis. It starts with sovereign risk, then moves to industry, then company business/competitive risk. It then highlights the ratios to look for, and also gives data on seniority and recovery values for specific levels of debt. It then uses these tools to analyze a fictional company. It ends with case studies that cover M&A, sovereign risk and other topical reviews that act as a real life summary to what you just learned. Highly recommended. Well done.

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