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06 Feb 2004
MOODY'S DOWNGRADES LONG-TERM RATINGS OF ENA GROUP ENTITES; STABLE OUTLOOK (SPAIN)
London, 06 February 2004 -- Moody's Investors Service today downgraded the senior implied rating
of ENA Infraestructuras, S.A. (ENA - formerly
Empresa Nacional de Autopistas, S.A.) to Caa1 from
Ba1, and the long-term issuer rating of ENA to B3 from Ba2.
Moody's also downgraded the senior unsecured debt ratings of Autopistas
del Atlantico, Concesionaria Espanola, S.A.
(AUDASA) to B1 from Ba1, and affirmed the Not-Prime short-term
issuer rating of Autopista Concesionaria Astur-Leonesa, S.A.
(AUCALSA). The outlook for all group ratings is stable.
All ENA group ratings had been maintained on review with direction uncertain
following their downgrade on 16 July 2003 ahead of the group's then
imminent privatisation; today's rating actions conclude this
The Caa1 senior implied rating of ENA reflects the substantial debt burden
of the ENA group following its acquisition by a consortium led by unrated
Sacyr Vallehermoso, S.A. The senior implied rating
represents Moody's opinion of the ENA group's ability to honour
its financial obligations viewed as if these obligations, including
a substantial portion of the acquisition facility, were a single
class of debt in a consolidated legal entity structure. ENA's
debt burden prior to the privatisation was already high relative to the
earnings generation of the group (debt of EUR1.1 billion in the
year ended 31 December 2002 against operating income of EUR157.4
million). The ENA purchase price of EUR1.622 billion was
financed predominantly by debt in a holding company structure sitting
above ENA; Moody's believes that the majority of the debt service
obligations of that debt will be met from the ENA group's cash flow.
The B3 long-term issuer rating of ENA reflects the significant
debt burden carried by the holding company structure that sits above ENA,
and the position of a potential lender to ENA with respect to this acquisition
debt. Given that the ENA group's cash flow is predominantly
derived from its concession company subsidiaries, Moody's
believes that potential lenders at ENA would be closer than the consortium
lenders to the assets of the concession companies.
The B1 senior unsecured debt ratings of AUDASA reflect the substantial
debt burden of AUDASA and the structural position of lenders to AUDASA
within the overall debt structure of the group. Moody's has
also factored into the rating the regulated character of the concession
company, which provides some additional benefits to lenders,
in particular the potential for future restriction of dividend flows to
permit refinancing of debt. However, Moody's believes
that AUDASA will not, in practice, be able to refinance its
debt maturities from internally generated cash flow in the medium term,
or even, potentially, into the long term. Furthermore
Moody's expects that most if not all of AUDASA's free cash
flow will be up-streamed for the purpose of meeting the debt service
obligations of the acquisition debt. The Not-Prime rating
of AUCALSA is based on the same rationale, and Moody's notes
that AUCALSA's cash flow generation has historically been weaker
than that of AUDASA.
The outlook for the ratings is stable. Moody's will continue
to monitor the cash flow generation and refinancing activities of the
group, and believes that difficulties in these areas could place
pressure on the ratings.
The ENA group has the following ratings outstanding:-
- Senior Implied Rating: Caa1
- Long-Term Issuer Rating: B3
- EUR30.05 million 5.0% bonds due 2007:
- EUR72.12 million 3.9% bonds due 2008:
- EUR66.11 million 4.19% bonds due 2011:
- EUR180.30 million 4.33% bonds due 2012:
- Short-Term Issuer Rating: Not-Prime
AUDASA and AUCALSA are both toll motorway concession companies within
the ENA group of companies. AUDASA's concession is for the
A-9 motorway from El Ferrol to Tuy in the Galicia region of Spain;
AUCALSA's concession is for the A-66 motorway between León
in Castilla-León and Campomanes in Asturias.
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454
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