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Goldcorp

Goldcorp Inc. is on the brink of sliding into junk status after Moody's Investors Service cut the world's third most valuable gold miner to the lowest investment grade and assigned a negative outlook.

Like its peers, Goldcorp has suffered from a prolonged rout in gold prices that reversed course only this year. In lowering its senior unsecured ratings to Baa3 from Baa2, Moody's cited problems executing plans at several mines, expected production declines, and management changes.

"The downgrade of Goldcorp's rating reflects the deterioration of its profitability and coverage metrics and our expectation they will remain weak through 2016 combined with minimal free cash flow generation at a $1,100/oz gold price," Moody's Vice President, Senior Analyst Jamie Koutsoukis wrote in a statement Friday.

On Feb. 29, David Garofalo took over from Chuck Jeannes as chief executive of Goldcorp. On Wednesday, it announced that Chief Financial Officer Lindsay Hall was leaving the company and would be replaced by Russell Ball.

Goldcorp does have "excellent liquidity" Moody's noted, with $326-million in cash at end 2015 and a $3-billion unsecured revolving credit facility due June 2020.

"However, we note that with recent executive management changes, there is a heightened risk the company could deviate from its conservative financial policies," Moody's said in the statement.

The downgrade is part of a global review of the mining industry by Moody's. In January, it put 55 miners and 120 oil and gas drillers on watch for possible downgrade.