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Rating Action:

MOODY'S AFFIRMS SYDNEY AIRPORT RATINGS, ASSIGNS PROSPECTIVE Aaa CREDIT-WRAPPED RATING AND PROSPECTIVE Baa2 UNDERLYING RATING TO SYDNEY AIRPORT FINANCE CO

30 Aug 2004
MOODY'S AFFIRMS SYDNEY AIRPORT RATINGS, ASSIGNS PROSPECTIVE Aaa CREDIT-WRAPPED RATING AND PROSPECTIVE Baa2 UNDERLYING RATING TO SYDNEY AIRPORT FINANCE CO

Approximately A$5.3 billion of Debt Securities Affected

Sydney, August 30, 2004 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned a prospective Aaa rating to the medium-term notes (MTN) and capital indexed bonds (CIB) to be issued by Sydney Airport Finance Company Pty. Ltd. (SAFC). The Aaa rating is based on the financial guarantee to be provided in favour of the MTN holders by MBIA Insurance Corporation, rated Aaa for its financial claims paying ability.

In addition, Moody's has assigned a prospective Baa2 underlying rating to the same MTN and CIB as well as to the proposed senior bank debt of SAFC. The Baa2 underlying rating is based on the credit quality of Sydney Airport Corporation Ltd. (SACL), which guarantees SAFC's debt obligations.

The Baa2 underlying senior secured rating on Southern Cross Airports Corporation (SCAC) senior debt and the Baa3 rating on the units of the Southern Cross FLIERS Trust were also affirmed.

The outlook on all ratings is stable.

The prospective Aaa credit-wrapped and Baa2 underlying ratings are based on the information provided to Moody's as of August 30, 2004 and assume that this information will not change materially. Moody's will assign definitive ratings once the above-mentioned debt is issued.

The new debt issuances, totalling A$3.155 billion, will be used to refinance A$2.5 billion of debt of SCAC. The resultant net rise in the company's senior debt position will fund the expansion of airport facilities over the next five years. Moody's says the net rise in debt is manageable within SACL's current credit profile, given the company's low level of business risk and predictable cash flow.

SCAC, SACL and Southern Cross Airports Corporation (Holdings) Ltd. (SCACH) are all part of a security structure which guarantees the debt issued by SAFC and SCAC. In this regard, the senior secured position of the holders of debt in SAFC is the same as that of SCAC's lenders.

The Baa2 underlying rating recognises the dominant position of Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport in New South Wales. It is also seen as the gateway airport to Australia and is the country's busiest passenger airport. The airport has strong origin and destination traffic, which supports its predictable cash flow. Moreover, it benefits from a diversified earnings stream, with revenue generated from aeronautical charges, as well as retail, property and commercial trading.

At the same time, the Baa2 rating considers the SCACH group's relatively high level of leverage, which limits financial flexibility. The rating is further tempered by the complex nature of the company's corporate and capital structure.

As part of this re-financing exercise, some of the terms and conditions of the senior debt facilities will undergo change, but Moody's does not see these changes as material to the credit ratings of SCAC and SAFC.

The Baa3 rating for the units in Southern Cross Fliers Trust continues to reflect the structural and contractual subordination of FLIERS to the senior secured debt of SCAC and SAFC. Furthermore, Moody's considers SCACH's Redeemable Preference Shares (RPS), for ratings purposes, as predominately equity-like in nature, given their position in the security structure, the distribution restrictions for these instruments, their loss absorption capacity, and being stapled to common equity.

SCAC, based in Sydney, Australia, owns 100% of the equity in Sydney Airport Corporation Limited, which operates Sydney Airport under a 50-year lease from July 1998 with an option for an additional 49 years. Sydney Airport is the largest airport in Australia, handling in excess of 24 million passengers annually.

Sydney
Brian Cahill
Managing Director
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Pty Ltd
612 9270 8100

Sydney
Clement K. Chong
Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Pty Ltd
612 9270 8100

No Related Data.
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