Moody's Investors Service on Thursday dropped
outlook to negative, although it affirmed its Ba1 credit rating on the company's senior unsecured notes.
The change was prompted by this week's news that CA will
delay the release of fourth-quarter and fiscal-year earnings results, and by a wave of executive departures from the troubled business software maker.
According to senior analyst John Moore, "the revision reflects challenges the company has to implement effective financial controls, the recent departure of key personnel, including the company's chief software architect, financial officer, and operating officer."
Additionally, "subdued billings performance, which the company announced on May 30, declined slightly in fiscal 2006, excluding acquisition related products and accelerated customer payments," Moore wrote.
Separately, analyst John Rizzuto of Lazard Capital Markets lowered his estimates for CA, saying, "As we become more confident that the company can execute more consistently, we will become more constructive, but we believe that, over the short term, the stock could fall below $20."
CA, which is struggling to recover from the $2.2 billion accounting scandal that led to the criminal conviction of a former CEO and other former executives, is still plagued by problems with its internal controls, despite repeated assurances from senior management that the system has been fixed.
Shares of the company were trading off 4 cents to $21.69 late Thursday afternoon.