Nov 15, 2019

Dean Foods, America's largest milk producer, is 2019's 100th default

Illustration of a cow with markings in the shape of a neutral face

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Dean Foods, the largest dairy company in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy this week, bringing the total number of global corporate defaults this year to 100.

The big picture: Despite having one of the fastest growing economies in the industrialized world, the U.S. has accounted for 70% of companies defaulting or seeking bankruptcy protection in 2019, according to the latest corporate default tally from ratings agency S&P.

  • Colorado-based manufacturer APC Automotive Technologies also went into default along with Delaware's Dura Automotive Systems, Pennsylvania-based retailer Destination Maternity Corp. and one "confidential issuer," S&P notes.

What they're saying: "The U.S. makes up the overwhelmingly largest percentage of this year's default tally," says Sudeep Kesh, head of S&P Global Credit Markets Research.

  • "The global 12-month trailing speculative-grade default rate has increased in 2019, to 2.3% in September from 2% in January, largely due to an increase in U.S. defaults," the report adds.

Of note: Bankruptcy-related defaults have increased this year, reaching a global total of 28 — already the second-highest number of bankruptcy-related defaults since 2009.

  • The oil/gas and retail/restaurants sectors lead defaults in the U.S. with 16 and 13, respectively.

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