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24 Oct 2001
Approximately $14 Billion of Securities Affected
New York, October 24, 2001 -- Moody's today confirmed the securities ratings of Dominion Resources,
Inc. (DRI, Baa1 sr. unsec.) and its electric
utility subsidiary, Virginia Electric and Power Company (Vepco,
A2 sr. sec.) This concludes a review initiated September
10, 2001 when DRI announced its intention to acquire Louis Dreyfus
Natural Gas (LDNG, Baa3 sr. unsec.) for $2.3
Bn. DRI is the holding company for Vepco as well as Consolidated
Natural Gas (CNG, A3 sr. sec.) and Dominion Energy
To finance the transaction, DRI will issue $900 million stock
while CNG will assume $525 in LDNG debt and issue securities for
the remainder. As a result, Moody's lowered the CNG rating
to A3 sr. unsec. from A2 on October 11. Management
does not envision further oil and gas acquisitions at this time.
Hearings are currently underway before the Virginia State Corporation
Commission (VSCC) to consider Virginia Power's request to move its generating
assets into a new subsidiary. While it is premature to know how
the VSCC will ultimately rule, the staff of the commission does
not support the legal separation of assets. Whether or not the
separation occurs, Moody's has concluded that the A2 sr.
sec. rating remains appropriate for Virginia Power, given
its supportive deregulation plan which provides a transition period until
July 2007 of capped rates, recovery of potentially stranded costs
related to above-market NUG contracts, and a wires charge
to recover lost revenues from customers choosing to exit.
In the near term, the holding company continues to merit a Baa1
rating despite the origination of an increasing proportion of cash from
the lower rated entity, CNG. Moody's derives the DRI rating
by risk weighting the cash flows upstreamed from subsidiaries to support
its debt obligations. The analysis weights cash flow from Virginia
Power and CNG as well as those from Dominion Energy, the holding
company for project financings including Elwood Energy (Baa3 sr.
sec.) and Kincaid Generation (Baa3 sr. sec.);
for new plant construction in the MAIN to Maine region along CNG's pipeline;
and certain non-CNG oil and gas operations.
Over the longer term horizon, it is conceivable that growth from
lower rated entities as DRI executes its merchant energy strategy in the
MAIN to Maine region will pressure the holding company rating.
To assess this risk, Moody's will continually evaluate the proportion
of contracted revenues arranged for these projects, the company's
hedging strategies, and other factors. For the time being,
the outlook for DRI's rating is stable.
Ratings for LDNG remain on review for potential upgrade. Short-term
ratings for Virginia Power and DRI are not on review.
DRI is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: (215) 967-6233
SUBSCRIBERS: (215) 967-6233
Moody's Confirms Ratings of Virginia Electric and Power (A2 sr. sec.) and Dominion Resources (Baa1 sr. unsec.) Subsequent to Announcement of Louis Dreyfus Natural Gas Acquisition. Outlook for Both is Stable
A. Tucker Hackett
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: (215) 967-6233
SUBSCRIBERS: (215) 967-6233
No Related Data.
© 2019 Moody’s Corporation, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., Moody’s Analytics, Inc. and/or their licensors and affiliates (collectively, “MOODY’S”). All rights reserved.
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