R. H. Macy & Co.'s outline of a five-year business plan stirred little activity in the company's bonds yesterday and had analysts asking, "where's the beef?"
"There's not a lot of meat in it," Jan Dillow, a vice president in Salomon Brothers Inc.'s high-yield research group, said.
She described the news as "a bit of a non-event." Ms. Dillow emphasized, however, that she had only seen the press release.
Another analysts, who also had not seen the actual outline, said portions of the outline she gleaned from newswire accounts were, "very, very vague goals."
"Macy's five-year business plan will serve as a road map for the company as it recapitalizes and emerges from Chapter 11," the Macy's release says.
Yesterday, the retailer's 14 1/2% senior subordinated debentures due 1998 were trading in the 32 to 33 range, nearly the same as they were at Friday's close. One trader, however, saw them softer.
Robert Miller, the Berlack, Israels & Liberman attorney representing Macy's bondholders, acknowledged the lack of specifics. But he said the document was only an outline, and that creditors would receive the full plan in November.
"Our group regarded it as quite impressive," he said, calling it "a well thought-out document."
The outline includes several "key objectives," including increased attentiveness to core customers' needs, building a strong associate team, hitting profitability and cash-flow targets, and spreading the word about Macy's new direction, the release says.
As part of its plan, Macy's hired Kurt Salmon/Kennedy Associates to conduct, "the most comprehensive market research in the company's history," the release says.
It surveyed more than 6,800 frequent, occasional, and non-Macy customers in more than 20 locations across the United States. In addition to the consumer research, Macy's plan also incorporates feedback from its employees.
Macy's has identified 20 "key initiatives" and will concentrate on six for the short term, the Macy's release said. The six are: * strengthening replenishment of basic items. * cutting costs. * evaluating merchandise category profitability * improving advertising. * refining pricing. * improving communication company-wide.
"Most of our shoppers come to Macy's with a specific purchase in mind, but occasionally are disappointed when they are unable to find what they are looking for," the Macy's release says. "This suggests that we can significantly increase sales by improving our in-stock position through better distribution and assortment planning."
A Wall Street Journal article yesterday said some bankruptcy lawyers and creditors had earlier believed Macy's would emerge from bankruptcy protection next year, but that late 1994 looks more likely. Ms. Dillow, however, said she had always believed the company would not emerge before 1994.
"The current money going toward retail is not growing, it's stagnant," she said. "You either have to open new stores or pay attention to your customers and get more of their dollars."
Mr. Miller also said that he has known for some time now that Macy's operating problems would make its emergence from bankruptcy slower than initially expected.
It was not something he realized for the first time when the outline was shown to creditors last week, he said.
In secondary activity overall yesterday, the high-yield market was what one trader called "unchanged to comatose" ahead of the Labor Day weekend. High-grade bond prices moved with Treasuries, adding about 1/8 point.
Ohio Edison issued a two-part first mortgage bond issue totaling $270 million. The first tranche consisted of $150 million of 6.875% bonds due 1999. The noncallable bonds were priced at 99.917 to yield 6.89% or 77 basis points over comparable Treasuries. The second consisted of $120 million of 7.375% bonds due 2002. The noncallable bonds were priced at 99.77 to yield 7.408% or 80 basis points over comparable Treasuries.
Moody's Investors Service rates the offering Baa2, while Standard & Poor's Corp. rates it BBB. Morgan, Stanley & Co. managed the offering.
Kaufman and Broad Home Corp. issued $100 million of 10.375% senior notes due 1999 at par. Callable after five years at par, the notes were rated Ba2 by Moody's and BB-plus by Standard & Poor's. Merrill Lynch lead managed the offering.
Procter & Gamble issued $100 million of 4.875% notes due 1995. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.761 to yield 4.963% or 27 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Aa2, while Standard & Poor's rates it AA. J. P. Morgan Securities Inc. sole managed the offering.
Moody's confirmed NCR Corp.'s senior long-term debt ratings at Aa3. The agency based its confirmation on an Aug. 3 guarantee of NCR's debt by NCR's parent, American Telephone & Telegraph Co. AT&T's senior debt is also rated Aa3.
Moody's also confirmed NCR's outstanding medium-term notes and its industrial development revenue bond issues.
"The Aa3 rating on American Telephone & Telegraph Co. reflects Moody's belief that the erosion in market share of its major source of cash flow and earnings, long distance telecommunications, has been stemmed. and that all major restructuring charges are behind the company, so that the quality of earnings from all operations will be improving," the release says.
Standard & Poor's has given a BBB-minus rating to RPM Inc.'s $300 million principal amount of its zero-coupon convertible subordinated liquid yield options notes due 2012. RPM will use cash proceeds of approximately $100 million to repay bank borrowings related to recent acquisitions.
The implied senior rating is BBB. RPM has $246 million of outstanding debt.
"The ratings reflect RPM's consistent earnings and cash flow growth, tempered by its relatively aggressive financial profile," the release says.
RPM is a mid-sized specialty coatings producer focusing on high-margin niches within the protective coatings market, Standard & Poor's said in a release.