It's been a tough year for Seattle-based American Seafoods, a titan of the Alaska commercial fishing industry.
In April, one of its factory trawlers, the 272-foot American Dynasty, plowed into a Canadian warship in a Victoria harbor.
In May, federal authorities proposed hefty fines in connection with alleged inaccurate weighing of pollock catches aboard two other company vessels, the Ocean Rover and the Northern Eagle.
Now comes news that Moody's, a credit ratings service, is downgrading American Seafoods, which is dragging a lot of debt.
"The downgrade is largely the result of the company underperforming relative to Moody's expectations, as leverage has remained high and continues to increase moderately despite healthy fishing conditions," Moody's says.
The service says American's profitability "will remain under pressure" unless market
prices increase for the company's top products: surimi, pollock and hake block, and roe.
Such increases, Moody's believes, are "unlikely in the near term."
American Seafoods had revenue of about $522 million for the year ended June 30, Moody's says.
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