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Rating Action:

MOODY'S RATES AMERENENERGY GENERATING COMPANY BONDS A3 AND Baa2 AND DOWNGRADES AMERENCIPS SECURITIES

17 Oct 2000
MOODY'S RATES AMERENENERGY GENERATING COMPANY BONDS A3 AND Baa2 AND DOWNGRADES AMERENCIPS SECURITIES

Approximately US$ 980 Million of Debt Securities Affected.

New York, October 17, 2000 -- Moody's Investors Service assigned an A3 rating and a Baa2 rating, respectively, to five year and ten year senior unsecured notes being issued by AmerenEnergy Generating Company (AmerenGenco). Separately, Moody's downgraded the long term debt and preferred securities of Central Illinois Public Service Company (AmerenCIPS). Moody's had placed all of AmerenCIPS' long term securities under review for possible downgrade October 4, 2000. Moody's outlooks are stable both for the AmerenGenco ratings and the AmerenCIPS ratings.

Both AmerenCIPS and AmerenGenco are subsidiaries of Ameren Corporation.

AmerenCIPS ratings downgraded include the company's senior secured debt, downgraded Aa2 to A1; the company's senior unsecured debt, senior unsecured industrial revenue bonds and issuer rating, all downgraded from Aa3 to A2; and the company's preferred stock, downgraded from "aa3" to "a2".

Moody's also confirmed (1) AmerenCIPS' Prime-1 commercial paper rating, (2) AmerenCIPS' VMIG-1 short term industrial revenue bond ratings and (3) Ameren Corporation's and AmerenUE's current ratings.

AMERENGENCO

In May 2000 AmerenCIPS-until then a vertically integrated investor owned utility--transferred all of its generating assets to AmerenGenco in return for a five year subordinated note. AmerenGenco will also, using most of the note proceeds, purchase additional gas-fired peakers and combined cycle units which will complement the largely baseload and mid merit assets transferred from AmerenCIPS.

Through minimum four year back-to-back contracts with an Ameren power marketing subsidiary, AmerenGenco will provide AmerenCIPS' commodity supply needs as well as other wholesale contracts in place. Also during those four years, AmerenGenco will sell its excess output into the merchant markets. Afterwards, AmerenGenco could sell its entire output into the merchant markets and AmerenCIPS could source its power elsewhere. Moody's, however, acknowledges the mutual benefits provided by the four year arrangements and believes Ameren may choose to extend those arrangements rather than having AmerenGenco selling strictly on a merchant basis.

Pursuant to the four year back-to-back contracts, AmerenCIPS will pay AmerenGenco an amount equal to AmerenCIPS' fixed rate generation tariffs. Therefore, Moody's views AmerenGenco as a "contracted revenue" genco during the first four years. The combination of high AmerenGenco coverages during those years together with a forward looking distribution test also supports strong coverages in the fifth year. Therefore, Moody's has rated AmerenGenco's five year notes A3-one notch lower than Moody's AmerenCIPS senior unsecured rating.

Moody's rated AmerenGenco's ten years notes Baa2, however, based upon Moody's assessment of merchant power risks the company could face after the term of the back-to-back contracts. Moody's notes that while the ten year notes' Baa2 rating is two notches lower than the five year notes' rating, the Baa2 rating is higher than Moody's ratings for several other recently rated merchant gencos. This relatively strong Baa2 rating reflects AmerenGenco's "fit" with AmerenCIPS, the quality of the generation assets, Ameren's intimate knowledge of both the assets and the regional power markets, and the solid financial projections as demonstrated by Moody's discount to break even analysis.

The notes have been structured as non-amortizing bullets with an appropriate covenant package addressing additional indebtedness, distributions and back-to-back contract issues. There is no debt service reserve, which Moody's views as appropriate given the company's projected economics.

AMERENCIPS

Moody's has downgraded AmerenCIPS' long term debt to reflect the company's post-Illinois deregulation financial projections, the company's possible-though limited-supply risk, and the fact that forty percent of CIPS' cash available to service debt over the coming years will derive from the AmerenGenco subordinated note.

AmerenCIPS, headquartered in Springfield, Illinois, provides electric and gas service to 66 counties in central and southern Illinois. Ameren Corporation, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is the holding company for Union Electric Company, AmerenCIPS, AEG, Ameren Energy, Inc. (Ameren's energy trading subsidiary) and other subsidiaries. AmerenGenco is also based in St. Louis.

New York
Susan D. Abbott
Managing Director
Corporate Finance
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: (212) 553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: (212) 553-1653

New York
Andy Jacobyansky
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Corporate Finance
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: (212) 553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: (212) 553-1653

No Related Data.
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