By  on April 12, 2011

Standard & Poor’s restored Liz Claiborne Inc.’s corporate credit rating to “B-minus” from “SD,” or selected default, following the completion of a tender offer in which the company bought back a portion of its debt for less than face value.

The move puts Claiborne’s rating back to where it was in early March, before S&P downgraded the firm’s rating to “CC” and then “SD.”

Last week, Claiborne said investors tendered 128.5 million euros, or $185.7 million at current exchange, of its 350 million euro 5 percent notes due in 2013. S&P viewed the debt buyback as a distressed deal.

S&P said the outlook on the company’s credit rating is negative, “reflecting continuing concerns that operating performance will remain below expectations despite recently extended debt maturities and slightly enhanced liquidity.”

Shares of Claiborne rose 3 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $5.49 Tuesday as the S&P Retail Index fell less than 0.1 percent to 526.55, escaping the 117.53 point, or 1 percent, decline weathered by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which ended the day at 12,263.58.

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