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28 Apr 2000
MOODY'S UPGRADES RATING OF EASTERN EDISON COMPANY'S SENIOR UNSECURED DEBT TO A2; WITHDRAWS PREFERRED STOCK AND ISSUER RATINGS
Moody's Investors Service upgraded the senior unsecured ratings of Eastern Edison Company's pollution control revenue bonds to A2 from A3 and assigned a stable outlook for the rating. The rating upgrade reflects completion of the acquisition of Eastern Utilities Associates (EUA), which was Eastern Edison Company's former parent, by National Grid USA (formerly New England Electric System) effective April 19, 2000. Since closing the transaction, National Grid USA announced plans to merge Eastern Edison Company into its Massachusetts-based electric distribution utility subsidiary, Massachusetts Electric Company, on or about May 1, 2000. Effective with completion of that step, Massachusetts Electric Company will assume obligations associated with the rated debt of the former Eastern Edison Company.
At the same time, Moody's is withdrawing Eastern Edison Company's "baa1" preferred stock rating since the securities will ultimately be converted to preferred stock of Massachusetts Electric Company. Moody's is also withdrawing Eastern Edison Company's A3 issuer rating since the company will cease to exist as a separate legal entity once it is merged into Massachusetts Electric Company. These rating actions conclude a review process, which was initiated February 1, 1999, after New England Electric System announced its plans to acquire 100% of EUA in a cash transaction.
The A2 senior unsecured rating and stable outlook are consistent with Moody's current opinion of the credit quality of Massachusetts Electric Company, whose senior secured debt is rated A1 and carries a stable outlook. The ratings for Massachusetts Electric Company are supported by the lower level of business risk that the company bears as a regulated distribution company when compared to vertically integrated utilities. The ratings also reflect Moody's anticipation of continued improvement in the company's financial profile, as management focuses on controlling costs and taking advantage of electric sales growth opportunities that are expected under the healthy economic conditions that exist in the company's service territory. The focus on these areas is particularly important as the company strives to maximize its financial performance within the context of the 20-year rate plan recently approved by the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy when the regulatory approval for the merger between National Grid USA and EUA was also granted.
Eastern Edison Company, an electric distribution utility, has been maintaining its headquarters in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Massachusetts Electric Company, an electric distribution utility subsidiary of National Grid USA, is headquartered in Westborough, Massachusetts.
No Related Data.
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