Monday, June 26, 2006

Nelson Peltz's glass house

While Nelson Peltz has been badgering other corporate chiefs to put their companies into buff financial shape, the activist shareholder has apparently let his own company lapse into Homer Simpson. On Friday, Standard & Poor’s gave Peltz’s Arby’s Restaurant Group a B+ credit rating, “with negative implications.”

Translation: The fast-food franchisor isn’t doing nearly as well as it was a year ago, but it’s not doing terribly, either. Best keep an eye on it, creditors and note holders.

The rating “is based on operating performance and credit measures that are well below expectations,” S&P anayst Robert Lichtenstein commented in a release. The rating service said it had expected the franchisor’s performance to improve, given the efficiencies it would likely realize from the acquisition of RTM Restaurant Group, a major franchisee, during the prior 12 months.

I would’ve called Peltz for a comment, but I’m more likely to secure a racquetball date with the Pope.

S&P said it expects to meet with Arby’s new management team to review a plan for improving operations. Golf-industry veteran Roland Smith was named the new president of Arby’s earlier this month by Peltz’s Triarc Cos.

Having your plan reviewed must be quite a switch for Peltz, who has pressed for significant strategic changes during the past year from Wendy’s International and the parent of Cracker Barrel, among other big-name concerns. The day before S&P issued its rating, Peltz’s Trian Group filed the necessary government documents to mount a proxy fight for five seats on the board of industry supplier H.J. Heinz, in which Trian holds a 5.5-percent stake.

No comments:

Post a Comment