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Rating Action:

Moody's Changes SourceGas Outlook To Positive

Global Credit Research - 28 Jun 2010

Approximately $325 million of Debt Secutities Affected

New York, June 28, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service today affirmed SourceGas LLC's Ba2 Corporate Family Rating (CFR) and Ba1 senior unsecured debt rating and changed the rating outlook of SourceGas LLC (SourceGas) to positive from stable.

"The change in SourceGas' outlook to positive reflects our expectation for continued improvement in the company's operating performance and related key financial metrics" said Natividad Martel. "The action also considered SourceGas' recent disposal of its international operations and a renewed focus on its US-based regulated businesses" added Martel.

The gradual improvement of SourceGas' consolidated financial performance (including Holdings' debt) has been driven by the 2008 Colorado rate hike and the successful integration of Arkansas Western Gas (AWG), coupled with several expense reduction initiatives. Specifically, during 2009, SourceGas' CFO pre-W/C to debt and CFO pre-W/C interest coverage was about 13% and 3.5x, respectively, an improvement over previous years. However, we also observe that 2007-2009 average metrics remain indicative of a Ba rating; specifically, SourceGas' 2007-2009 ratio of CFO pre-W/C to debt and CFO pre-W/C interest coverage averaged 5.3% and 2x, respectively, and its ratio of consolidated debt to total capitalization exceeded 65%. Further improvement in key metrics is expected to be driven by supportive rate case outcomes in Wyoming and Colorado, particularly, in terms of the rate design.

That being said, SourceGas' ratings remain constrained by its leverage profile, acquisitive nature and a below average regulatory environment in Nebraska. Furthermore, while the $9 million of proceeds from the sale of its international assets were distributed to its sponsors in the form of a dividend, the positive outlook incorporates the belief that future acquisitions will be focused on assets within SourceGas's current business segments and financing for those transactions will be credit neutral.

Moody's will continue to monitor the outcome of the ongoing and planned rate cases as well as the pending court decision in the litigated Nebraska rate case, the company's corporate strategy, liquidity and its ability to sustain its credit metrics in considering any further rating actions.

For further detail refer to SourceGas' Credit Opinion published at www.moodys.com

Moody's last rating action on SourceGas occurred June 26, 2008 when the senior unsecured debt rating of SourceGas was downgraded to Ba1 and a CFR of Ba2 was assigned.

The principal methodology used in rating the CFR and debt of SourceGas is the Rating Methodology: Regulated Electric and Gas Utilities, published August 2009 and available on www.moodys.com in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory under the Research & Ratings tab. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating SourceGas can also be found in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory on Moody's website.

Headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado, SourceGas is an intermediate holding company, whose operating subsidiaries provide retail natural gas distribution services, and operate intrastate transmission pipelines as well as storage facilities in Arkansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming. Furthermore, SourceGas's wholly owned subsidiary Rocky Mountain Natural Gas LLC offers regulated wholesale natural gas services mainly to affiliate SourceGas Distribution LLC, and natural gas liquid sales processed through two natural gas processing plants. RMNG owns 40% of one of the processing plants, while the second one is wholly owned by SourceGas Energy Services (SGES), another SourceGas subsidiary. SGES comprises the group's non-regulated operations (about 8% of the consolidated gross margin) that consist mainly of unbundled natural gas (under the Choice Program) to retail customers in Wyoming and Nebraska.

New York
Natividad Martel
Associate Analyst
Infrastructure Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

New York
William L. Hess
Managing Director
Infrastructure Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's Changes SourceGas Outlook To Positive
No Related Data.
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