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Rating Action:

MOODY'S UPGRADES CITY OF WINNIPEG'S RATING TO Aa2 FROM Aa3

16 Oct 2003
MOODY'S UPGRADES CITY OF WINNIPEG'S RATING TO Aa2 FROM Aa3

Toronto, October 16, 2003 -- Moody's Investors Service upgraded today the debt rating of the City of Winnipeg to Aa2 from Aa3. The upgrade was prompted by recent improvements to the City's debt profile, owing to prudent fiscal planning and strong financial results. The Aa2 rating also takes into account continued economic and assessment base growth, which enhance the city's financial framework. The rating outlook is stable.

Winnipeg's financial profile has improved over the past five years, reflecting increased fiscal discipline and the effective management of cost pressures. The city has realized consecutive consolidated budgetary surpluses since the 1997, allowing reserves to increase from 25.5% of net direct debt in 1998 to 85.1% in 2002. Growth in property values, coupled with a parallel decline in the absolute level of net direct debt, led to a decrease in the city's debt burden, measured by the ratio of net direct debt to taxable assessments, from 2.0% in 2000 to 1.4% in 2002.

The rating upgrade was also prompted by the city's shift towards pay-as-you-go financing for tax-supported capital projects, which has curtailed new borrowing requirements. Moody's anticipates that this shift will lead to further improvements to city's debt profile over the medium term. While Winnipeg's 2003-2007 capital plan calls for total spending of C$868 million, C$302 million will be rate supported, and no new debt is to be issued for tax-supported capital projects. The sale of Winnipeg Hydro to Manitoba Hydro in early 2002 eliminated uncertainties related to hydro capital expenditures.

Winnipeg is the seventh largest city in Canada, with 631,700 inhabitants, and the provincial capital of Manitoba.

New York
Yves Lemay
Senior Vice President
International Subsovereign Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Toronto
David Rubinoff
Vice President - Senior Analyst
International Subsovereign Group
Moody's Canada Inc.
(416) 214-1635

No Related Data.
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