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MOODY'S ASSIGNS A3 RATING, ON WATCHLIST FOR POSSIBLE DOWNGRADE, TO UPCOMING SALE OF APPROXIMATELY $500 MILLION PUERTO RICO GOVERNMENT DEVELOPMENT BANK SENIOR NOTES

03 May 2011

MOODY'S ALSO ASSIGNS A3 to SENIOR NOTES SOLD IN 2009 AND 2010

State
PR

Moody's Rating

ISSUE

RATING

Senior Notes, 2011 Series B

A3

  Sale Amount

$500,000,000

  Expected Sale Date

05/11/11

  Rating Description

General Obligation

 

Opinion

NEW YORK, May 3, 2011 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned a rating of A3 to the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico's (GDB) planned $500 million sale of unsecured senior notes in the U.S. tax-exempt market. The rating is on Watchlist for possible downgrade, reflecting the Watchlist action on the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's general obligation notes and related debt. The Senior Notes, 2011 Series B (Taxable) are expected to be sold the week of May 11, and will likely be in a fixed rate mode. Proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, including, but not limited to, increasing its investment portfolio and making loans to, and purchasing obligations of, the commonwealth and its public corporations, instrumentalities and municipalities, and redeeming outstanding notes. The notes rank on parity with other senior debt of the GDB currently outstanding and issued in the future-including long-term, medium-term and commercial paper notes-and are payable from any available funds of the bank including underlying loan repayments, investment income, and sale of refunding notes.

RATING RATIONALE

The rating on the GDB notes is aligned with the rating of the commonwealth's general obligation bonds, due to the close linkage between the commonwealth and the GDB. The GDB acts as the financing arm of the commonwealth, and there are many areas where the two are connected, including their mission, their governance, and their exposure to the economy of the island.

The rating and the outlook are therefore the same as that of the commonwealth; if the commonwealth general obligation bond rating changes, the rating on the GDB notes will change as well.

For additional commentary on the commonwealth's credit situation, please see our report dated May 3.

The GDB rating reflects the following credit strengths and challenges:

Credit strengths:

* Essential public funds management and financing arm of the commonwealth government, with strong bi-partisan support for its mission and continued financial strength.

* Substantial and relatively stable base of government sector deposits serve as foundation for the bank's investment and lending activities.

* Loan portfolio is almost exclusively government-sector, and largely tied to the commonwealth itself as the direct or indirect source of repayment.

* Investment portfolio is sizable and liquid.

* GDB rules on approving loans to municipalities and instrumentalities of the central government have become more stringent in recent years.

*Management is typically strong (though leadership changes are frequent).

Credit challenges

* Reflecting control by the commonwealth, the GDB's financial condition has historically been highly correlated with the commonwealth's own political/fiscal cycles.

* Commonwealth's ongoing fiscal strain is expected to drive continued borrowing demands on GDB - both by the commonwealth itself and by various public corporations.

* Ongoing GDB access to non-governmental funding sources is dependent on market confidence in the commonwealth, which could be affected negatively by potential rating downgrades.

DETAILED CREDIT DISCUSSION

COMMONWEALTH RATING DRIVERS

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's general obligation debt is rated A3 on Watchlist for possible downgrade. The A3 rating reflects the commonwealth's weak economy, which has been in recession since 2006; the budgetary structural imbalance, brought on by years of overestimating revenues, underestimating expenses, and making up the different with one-time revenues and deficit borrowing; the actions taken in the past two years to dramatically reduce that structural imbalance, largely through cost reduction; and the proactive steps the administration has taken to stabilize the economy and the finances of the island.

The watchlist action reflects the deeply underfunded nature of the commonwealth's retirement system, and the risk that actions that significantly improve the funding ratio of the system may have such a significant cost to the commonwealth that the General Fund would be strained to a point not consistent with the current A3 rating. The conclusion of the review could result in a rating change of one or more notches.

GDB GOVERNANCE AND POWERS

The Government Development Bank is a public corporation and governmental instrumentality of the commonwealth created by the legislature in 1948. The Enabling Act establishes GDB's charter, which provides that its existence is perpetual. GDB is an instrumentality of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and is accounted for as a component unit of the commonwealth government.

The principal functions of Government Development Bank are to act as fiscal agent, paying agent and financial advisor to the commonwealth and its instrumentalities, public corporations and municipalities; to provide interim and long-term financing to the commonwealth and its instrumentalities, public corporations and municipalities, and to private parties for economic development; and to act as depositary or trustee of funds for the commonwealth and its instrumentalities, public corporations and municipalities.

Under its charter, GDB has the power, among other things, to borrow money, to issue bonds, notes, debentures, and other obligations, to lend money to and purchase obligations issued by the commonwealth, its instrumentalities, public corporations and municipalities, and to lend money to any other person when such moneys are to be used to develop the economy of Puerto Rico.

In its role as fiscal agent and financial advisor, it acts as advisor to the commonwealth and its instrumentalities in connection with all their borrowings; all such borrowings are subject to prior approval by GDB.

GDB lends to, and purchases and guarantees certain obligations of, the commonwealth and its instrumentalities, public corporations and municipalities. It provides interim financing to these entities in anticipation of their refinancing such indebtedness in the bond market and also provides long-term financing to such entities. In fiscal years 2010, 2009, and 2008, GDB disbursed individual lines of credit and other financing facilities to the public sector in aggregate amounts of approximately $3.3 billion, $3.8 billion, and $2.8 billion, respectively.

GDB also lends to the private sector, mainly through its subsidiaries, the Tourism Development Fund (TDF) and the Housing Finance Authority. From time to time, GDB also issues letters of credit to guarantee obligations of private lenders with respect to financing arrangements that promote the development of the commonwealth's economy. TDF's lending activities and guarantees have no recourse on the GDB as losses are appropriated as part of the commonwealth annual budget.

GDB is generally exempt from commonwealth taxation. While private banks on the island of Puerto Rico are regulated by FDIC and the Commissioner of Financial Institutions of the Commonwealth, the GDB is only regulated by the Commissioner of Financial Institutions of the Commonwealth.

ESSENTIAL FINANCIAL ARM OF COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT

The GDB has historically enjoyed strong bi-partisan support for its mission and its continued financial strength. It is viewed as an essential arm of the commonwealth government, based on its role of providing critical financial support to the government sector - which represents a large and important part of the Puerto Rico economy. The bank's financial resources and independent borrowing abilities also serve as an important source of fiscal cushion for the commonwealth government in times of general budgetary stress. While GDB support available to the commonwealth and its instrumentalities has been a rating factor in analysis of the commonwealth and instrumentalities, Moody's also believes that the commonwealth would use its resources (such as taxing power) to support the GDB if it were necessary (although it never has been necessary, and Moody's does not see this as a likely scenario).

GDB'S FINANCIAL CONDITION

GDB had $13.3 billion in assets as of December 31, 2010, and $11.5 billion of liabilities, resulting in $1.7 billion of net assets.

Within the $13.3 billion of assets, GDB had $4.9 billion of investments and $7.7 billion of loans. The government of Puerto Rico makes up approximately 30% of the loans held, public corporations make up approximately 40%, and municipalities

GDB's loans to the private sector (excluding the lending activities of its subsidiaries, the Housing Finance Authority and the Tourism Development Fund) are done solely for commercial and industrial ventures. GDB also provides working capital loans to the private sector. As of December 31, 2010, GDB had approximately $4.3 million of outstanding loans to the private sector.

Within the $11.5 billion of liabilities, GDB had $5.9 billion of deposits and $4.9 billion of bonds. The deposits, which are not insured by FDIC, are by mostly public corporations or agencies. There are also private deposits by institutional clients and other companies.

The GDB's direct exposure to the commonwealth through loans has declined. From fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2010, commonwealth loans held by GDB declined from $2.45 billion to $2.2 billion, a drop of 9.8%.

ONGOING GDB MARKET ACCESS DEPENDENT ON GENERAL CONFIDENCE IN COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT

As GDB's credit quality is closely tied to that of the commonwealth government, the bank's ongoing ability to access non-governmental funding sources, such as private deposits and the commercial paper market, is likely to be highly dependent on continued confidence in the commonwealth government.

GDB and the commonwealth have both enjoyed strong market access. With triple tax exemption throughout the U.S., both have had strong market access in the U.S. market. They have also had strong market access in the local Puerto Rico market.

Outlook

The GDB's rating is on Watchlist for possible downgrade, reflecting the Watchlist action on the Commonwealth's general obligation debt (also rated A3). The Watchlist for possible downgrade on the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is based on the very low funded ratio of the commonwealth's retirement plans. For additional commentary on the Commonwealth's credit situation, please see our recent report dated May 3.

What could move the GDB's rating down?

* downgrade of the Commonwealth's G.O. rating

* actions by the Commonwealth (not expected) that significantly weaken the GDB's financial condition, such as large equity transfers out or a large reduction of public sector deposits in GDB.

What could change the GDB's rating up?

* upgrade of the Commonwealth's G.O. rating

The principal methodology used in this rating was Moody's Methodology for Rating U.S. Public Finance Transactions Based on the Credit Substitution Approach published in August 2009.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

Information sources used to prepare the credit rating are the following: parties involved in the ratings, parties not involved in the ratings and public information.

Moody's Investors Service considers the quality of information available on the credit satisfactory for the purposes of assigning a credit rating.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a credit rating is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, Moody's is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on Moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history.

The date on which some Credit Ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's Investors Service's Credit Ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's Investors Service provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

Please see the Credit Policy page on Moodys.com for the methodologies used in determining ratings, further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

Analysts

Emily Raimes
Analyst
Public Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service

Nicole Johnson
Backup Analyst
Public Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service

Contacts

Journalists: (212) 553-0376
Research Clients: (212) 553-1653


Moody's Investors Service
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
USA

MOODY'S ASSIGNS A3 RATING, ON WATCHLIST FOR POSSIBLE DOWNGRADE, TO UPCOMING SALE OF APPROXIMATELY $500 MILLION PUERTO RICO GOVERNMENT DEVELOPMENT BANK SENIOR NOTES
No Related Data.
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