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05 Apr 2017
NOTE: On April 10, 2017, the list of affected credit ratings accessible via hyperlink from this press release was corrected as follows: For the April 2017 rating action, the ratings for the Puerto Rico Highway & Transportation Authority’s Highway Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series AA, Highway Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2005 Series BB and Highway Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series CC were corrected to Ca from C.
New York, April 05, 2017 -- Summary Rating Rationale
Moody's Investors Service has lowered the ratings on debt of the Government Development Bank and five other Puerto Rico issuers, with a total of approximately $13 billion outstanding. The commonwealth's outlook, and the outlooks for seven affiliated obligors linked to the central government, have been revised to negative from developing.
The downgrades and outlook revisions reflect persistent pressures on Puerto Rico's economic base that indicate a diminishing perceived capacity to repay. While we continue to believe that essentially all of Puerto Rico's debt will be subject to default and loss in a broad restructuring, the securities being downgraded face more severe losses than we had previously expected, in the light of Puerto Rico's projected economic pressures. For this reason, we downgraded to C from Ca not only the senior notes issued by the now defunct Government Development Bank, but also bonds issued by the Puerto Rico Infrastructure Financing Authority and backed by federal rum tax transfer payments, the Convention Center District Authority's hotel occupancy tax-backed bonds, the Employees Retirement System's bonds backed by government pension contributions, and the 1998 Resolution bonds of the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority. In addition, we have lowered the rating on the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company's commercial property rent-secured bonds to Ca from Caa3.
We also have affirmed ratings on securities for which we believe ratings are still consistent with likely bondholder recoveries: general obligation and guaranteed debt (Caa3); Sales Tax Financing Corporation, or COFINA (Caa3 senior, Ca subordinate); Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (Caa3); University of Puerto Rico (Ca) system and facilities bonds; the Municipal Finance Agency (Ca); the 1968 Resolution bonds of the Highways and Transportation Authority (Ca), and the Public Finance Corporation (C).
Please click on this link [http://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBM_PBM195266] for the List of Affected Credit Ratings. This list is an integral part of this Press Release and identifies each affected issuer.
The negative outlook is consistent with ongoing economic pressures, which will weigh on the commonwealth's capacity to meet debt and other funding obligations, potentially driving bondholder recovery rates lower as debt restructuring efforts proceed.
Factors that Could Lead to an Upgrade
Any negotiated agreements or judicial actions that point to stronger bondholder recoveries than indicated in current ratings
Increases in federal government assistance, under existing or new programs, that would materially improve bondholder recovery prospects
Factors that Could Lead to a Downgrade
Unilateral actions by the commonwealth's federal oversight board or by a judicial authority that point to decreased bondholder recoveries
Negotiated restructuring efforts that are likely to reduce bondholder recoveries
Protracted legal confrontations during which payment of debt service is suspended
Various, including the commonwealth's general obligation and pledges of specific taxes and other revenue sources.
Use of Proceeds
Puerto Rico is a self-governing territory of the United States. It operates under a constitution approved in 1952. The island's population, now 3.41 million, has been declining as Puerto Ricans in increasing numbers have moved to the mainland US in search of work. The nature of Puerto Rico's relationship with the US - whether to retain its current status as a commonwealth or to become a state - is a central political issue on the island. The two dominant Puerto Rican political parties are defined by their views on statehood: the Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP) advocates statehood, while the Partido Popular Democratico is in favor of continued commonwealth status. A smaller, third party favors independence. Our ratings do not contemplate a change in the island's relationship with the US.
The principal methodology used in rating the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico Municipal Finance Agency, Puerto Rico Highways & Transportation Authority, Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company, and Puerto Rico Public Sales Tax Financing Corp. debt was US States Rating Methodology published in April 2013. An additional methodology used in rating the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's Series 98A, Series 2001 E, 2002 Series A, 2003 Series A,B and C, Series 2004A and B, 2011 Series A, 2011 Series B and 2012 Series A was Lease, Appropriation, Moral Obligation and Comparable Debt of US State and Local Governments published in July 2016. The principal methodology used in the University of Puerto Rico rating was Global Higher Education published in November 2015. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of these methodologies.
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