MILAN -- Standard & Poor's is unlikely to change its rating on automaker Fiat until the Italian company returns to profit, credit analyst Nicolas Baudouin said on Monday.
Last week, Fiat and Ford announced they had agreed in principle to work on developing small cars, a key step for the Turin automaker. Analysts expect the Fiat group to return to net profit this year after years of losses.
"It is unlikely there will be any ratings change before the accounts are back in the black," Baudouin said on the sidelines of a Milan presentation.
S&P lifted its rating outlook on Fiat to stable from negative last month, while affirming the company's long-term rating at BB-.
But Baudouin added a bond issue could also be positive for Fiat's ratings.
"Fiat does not have any short-term liquidity problems. It has enough cash to pay everything coming due in 2006," he told reporters.
"The issue of a bond would be positive from a ratings perspective for two reasons -- it would extend the debt and the group would be able to prove it is able to seduce the market."