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Rating Action:

MOODY'S UPGRADES THE DEBT RATING OF JUNIPER GENERATION, LLC TO Ba3 FROM B1; RATING REMAINS UNDER REVIEW FOR POSSIBLE UPGRADE

07 May 2004
MOODY'S UPGRADES THE DEBT RATING OF JUNIPER GENERATION, LLC TO Ba3 FROM B1; RATING REMAINS UNDER REVIEW FOR POSSIBLE UPGRADE

Approximately $105 Million of Debt Securities Affected

New York, May 07, 2004 -- Moody's Investors Service upgraded the senior secured debt of Juniper Generation, LLC to Ba3 from B1. The rating remains under review for further possible upgrade.

The rating action reflects the decision by joint owner, El Paso Corporation (El Paso: Caa1 Senior Unsecured Rating; Under Review for Possible Downgrade) to sell its interest in Juniper to an indirect subsidiary of American International Group, Inc. (AIG), as well as improvement in the credit quality of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E: Baa3 Senior Unsecured Rating; Stable Outlook) and Southern California Edison Company (SCE: Baa3 Senior Unsecured Rating; Under Review for Possible Upgrade). PG&E and SCE are the principal off-takers for the projects owned by Juniper.

Juniper is a holding company that owns interests in ten power projects in California. Nine of the projects have long-term power purchase agreements with PG&E and the other has a long-term purchase power agreement with SCE. Both utilities have substantially strengthened their financial profiles, and recent regulatory developments in California and at the federal level have also contributed to improving credit quality. Nearly all of the projects have project level debt that is serviced from the cash flows provided by sales generated from each of the individual power purchase agreements. Six of the projects have amortization schedules that have either matured, or will mature in 2005 and 2006. Juniper's debt, which is subordinate to the project level debt, is serviced by dividends paid out of each of the individual projects. Among the structural protections for investors is a six-month debt service reserve that is funded in cash.

The review will focus on the performance of each of the operating projects owned by Juniper, including their respective ability to provide dividends to service the holding company debt at Juniper. The review will also consider the impact to Juniper's credit quality of the potential change in ownership following the sale of El Paso's interest as well as the impact to the projects' credit quality, given that none of the Juniper projects will be operated by a subsidiary of El Paso after the sale is completed. Should the review for possible upgrade result in Juniper's debt being upgraded, it is likely that the rating would remain below investment given the high concentration of cash flows from projects with long-term contracts with PG&E (Baa3 Senior Unsecured Debt) and the degree of structural subordination that exists at Juniper relative to the debt at each of the underlying projects.

Juniper is jointly owned by subsidiaries of El Paso and by a subsidiary of John Hancock.

New York
Daniel Gates
Managing Director
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

A.J. Sabatelle
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Corporate Finance Group

No Related Data.
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