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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms B2 CFR of United Continental Holdings; outlook stable

13 Mar 2013

New $1.9 billion credit facility rated Ba2

New York, March 13, 2013 -- Moody's Investors Service assigned a Ba2 rating to the new first lien senior secured credit facility that UAL announced on March 12, 2013. Moody's also affirmed the respective B2 Corporate Family and B2-PD Probability of Default ratings of United Continental Holdings, Inc. ("UAL") and Continental Airlines, Inc. ("Continental") as well as the debt and Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificate ("EETC") ratings of these two issuers or of United Air Lines, Inc. ("United"). Moody's also affirmed the SGL-2 Speculative Grade Liquidity rating of UAL and withdrew the SGL-2 Speculative Grade Liquidity rating assigned to Continental as the company is closer to completing the legal entity merger of the two airlines, which it expects to occur in 2013. The rating outlook is stable.

United and Continental will be co-borrowers on the new facility, which will provide a $1.0 billion revolving commitment due in 2018 and a $900 million term loan due in 2019. UAL will guarantee the obligations under this new credit facility. The proceeds of the term loan along with cash on hand will fund the refinancing of United's $1.2 billion first lien senior secured term loan due 2014. The new revolver will replace the companies' existing $500 million revolver due January 31, 2015.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The affirmation of the Corporate Family and Probability of Default ratings considers the group's good liquidity profile, competitive market position and supportive credit metrics. The ratings anticipate that UAL will sustain its current sound credit profile notwithstanding expected negative free cash flow generation in at least the next two years because of higher capital expenditures for new aircraft and other capital investments. While UAL could also experience modest pressure on operating cash flow should industry demand weaken because of lower than expected economic growth, continued careful management of capacity should enable the company to manage such pressures.

Moody's expects the new revolver to remain undrawn, and in conjunction with the group's $6.5 billion of unrestricted cash supports the SGL-2 Speculative Grade Liquidity rating. The borrowers will need to comply with a minimum collateral coverage ratio of 1.67 times and maintain at least $3.0 billion of liquidity. Additionally, no less than 66% of the company's eligible slots at Newark-Liberty International Airport must remain a part of the collateral and there is a 1.1 times fixed charge coverage test for restricted payments and other defined transactions. The company is expected to maintain adequate cushion for compliance with these covenants.

The stable outlook reflects Moody's belief that challenging elements of the integration of the airline operations have been substantially addressed, alleviating potential challenges in upcoming quarters as the company focuses on improving its traffic and revenue performance. Good liquidity, supported by unrestricted cash in excess of $6.0 billion at December 31, 2012 and the new $1.0 billion revolver, provides sufficient cushion to fund remaining integration costs, debt maturities and or collateral calls in the event cash flow from operations was to unexpectedly decline. The stable outlook also anticipates ongoing capacity discipline by UAL, and the industry, and vigilance in controlling non-fuel costs by UAL; each of which should help mitigate pressure on earnings during periods of declining passenger counts.

Sustained stronger credit metrics such as Funds from operations + interest to interest of at least 3.0 times, Debt to EBITDA below 5.5 times and or Free Cash Flow to Debt of at least 4% could positively pressure the ratings. The ratings could face downwards pressure if the company is unable to maintain its EBIT margin above 5% while its cost of jet fuel surpassed $3.40 per gallon or if aggregate liquidity including cash and availability on revolving credit facilities was sustained below $4.0 billion. Sustained negative free cash flow generation, Debt to EBITDA of more than 7.0 times or Funds from operations + interest to interest of below 2.0 times could also lead to a negative rating action.

Downgrades:

..Issuer: Cleveland (City of) OH

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Sep 15, 2027, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Dec 1, 2019, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

..Issuer: Continental Airlines, Inc.

....Senior Secured Regular Bond/Debenture Sep 15, 2015, Downgraded to a range of LGD2, 22 % from a range of LGD2, 19 %

....Senior Unsecured Conv./Exch. Bond/Debenture Jan 15, 2015, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

..Issuer: Denver (City & County of) CO

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Oct 1, 2032, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD4, 66 %

..Issuer: Harris County Industrial Dev Corp, TX

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 1, 2019, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

..Issuer: Hawaii Department of Transportation

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Nov 15, 2027, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jun 1, 2020, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

..Issuer: Houston (City of) TX

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 15, 2030, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 15, 2038, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 15, 2027, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 15, 2027, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 15, 2017, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 15, 2029, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 15, 2029, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 1, 2021, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 1, 2022, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 1, 2029, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 1, 2029, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

..Issuer: New Jersey Economic Development Authority

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Apr 1, 2028, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Sep 15, 2019, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Sep 15, 2023, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Sep 15, 2029, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Nov 15, 2030, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Nov 15, 2030, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jun 1, 2033, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Sep 15, 2027, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

..Issuer: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

....Revenue Bonds Dec 1, 2015, Downgraded to a range of LGD5, 74 % from a range of LGD5, 71 %

Upgrades:

..Issuer: United Air Lines, Inc.

....Senior Secured Bank Credit Facility Feb 1, 2014, Upgraded to a range of LGD2, 23 % from a range of LGD2, 25 %

Assignments:

..Issuer: Continental Airlines, Inc.

....Senior Secured Bank Credit Facility, Assigned Ba2

....Senior Secured Bank Credit Facility, Assigned Ba2

....Senior Secured Bank Credit Facility, Assigned a range of LGD2, 22 %

....Senior Secured Bank Credit Facility, Assigned a range of LGD2, 22 %

Affirmations:

..Issuer: Cleveland (City of) OH

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Sep 15, 2027, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Dec 1, 2019, Affirmed B3

..Issuer: Continental Airlines Finance Trust II

....Pref. Stock Preferred Stock Nov 15, 2030, Affirmed Caa1

..Issuer: Continental Airlines, Inc.

.... Probability of Default Rating, Affirmed B2-PD

.... Corporate Family Rating, Affirmed B2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Jun 2, 2013, Affirmed B1

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Jun 2, 2015, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Jun 2, 2015, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Apr 15, 2015, Affirmed B2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Jul 2, 2014, Affirmed B2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Apr 1, 2021, Affirmed B1

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Apr 29, 2018, Affirmed B1

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Apr 15, 2015, Affirmed Ba2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Jul 2, 2014, Affirmed Ba2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Jan 2, 2017, Affirmed Ba2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Sep 15, 2018, Affirmed Ba2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Nov 1, 2017, Affirmed Ba2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Feb 2, 2020, Affirmed Ba1

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Sep 15, 2021, Affirmed Ba2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust May 1, 2022, Affirmed Ba3

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Oct 2, 2019, Affirmed Ba3

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Dec 15, 2015, Affirmed Ba1

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust May 10, 2017, Affirmed Ba2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Jul 12, 2020, Affirmed Ba2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Apr 11, 2020, Affirmed Ba2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Apr 29, 2022, Affirmed Ba2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Apr 15, 2015, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Jul 2, 2014, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Apr 1, 2015, Affirmed Baa3

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Mar 24, 2013, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Jan 2, 2018, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Sep 15, 2017, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust May 1, 2018, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Aug 2, 2020, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Sep 15, 2021, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust May 1, 2022, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Oct 2, 2022, Affirmed Baa3

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Jun 15, 2021, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Sep 15, 2021, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Sep 15, 2021, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Nov 10, 2019, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Jul 12, 2022, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Apr 11, 2024, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Apr 29, 2026, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Equipment Trust Jul 2, 2018, Affirmed B1

....Senior Secured Equipment Trust Sep 1, 2019, Affirmed B1

....Senior Secured Equipment Trust Apr 19, 2014, Affirmed B1

....Senior Secured Equipment Trust Apr 19, 2022, Affirmed Ba2

....Senior Secured Equipment Trust Apr 19, 2022, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Equipment Trust Jul 8, 2016, Affirmed Baa2

....Senior Secured Regular Bond/Debenture Mar 13, 2013, Affirmed Ba3

....Senior Secured Regular Bond/Debenture Sep 15, 2015, Affirmed Ba2

....Senior Unsecured Conv./Exch. Bond/Debenture Jan 15, 2015, Affirmed B3

..Issuer: Denver (City & County of) CO

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Oct 1, 2032, Affirmed B3

..Issuer: Harris County Industrial Dev Corp, TX

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 1, 2019, Affirmed B3

..Issuer: Hawaii Department of Transportation

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Nov 15, 2027, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jun 1, 2020, Affirmed B3

..Issuer: Houston (City of) TX

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 15, 2030, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 15, 2038, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 15, 2027, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 15, 2027, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 15, 2017, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 15, 2029, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 15, 2029, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 1, 2021, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 1, 2022, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 1, 2029, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 1, 2029, Affirmed B3

..Issuer: New Jersey Economic Development Authority

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Apr 1, 2028, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Sep 15, 2019, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Sep 15, 2023, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Sep 15, 2029, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Nov 15, 2030, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Nov 15, 2030, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jun 1, 2033, Affirmed B3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Sep 15, 2027, Affirmed B3

..Issuer: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

....Revenue Bonds Dec 1, 2015, Affirmed B3

..Issuer: United Air Lines, Inc.

....Senior Secured Bank Credit Facility Feb 1, 2014, Affirmed Ba3

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Jan 15, 2016, Affirmed Ba3

....Senior Secured Enhanced Equipment Trust Jan 15, 2017, Affirmed Baa3

....Senior Secured Pass-Through Jul 2, 2014, Affirmed B1

....Senior Secured Pass-Through Jul 2, 2019, Affirmed Ba3

....Senior Secured Pass-Through Jul 2, 2022, Affirmed Baa3

....Senior Secured Pass-Through Nov 1, 2016, Affirmed Baa2

..Issuer: United Continental Holdings, Inc.

.... Probability of Default Rating, Affirmed B2-PD

.... Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating, Affirmed SGL-2

.... Corporate Family Rating, Affirmed B2

Withdrawals:

..Issuer: Continental Airlines, Inc.

.... Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating, Withdrawn , previously rated SGL-2

The principal methodology used in this rating was the Global Passenger Airlines Industry Methodology published in May 2012 and Enhanced Equipment Trust And Equipment Trust Certificates Industry Methodology published in December 2010. Other methodologies used include Loss Given Default for Speculative-Grade Non-Financial Companies in the U.S., Canada and EMEA published in June 2009. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of these methodologies.

United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL) is the holding company for both United Airlines and Continental Airlines. Together with United Express, Continental Express and Continental Connection, these airlines operate more than 5,500 flights a day to more than 375 airports on six continents from their hubs in Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Guam, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark Liberty, San Francisco, Tokyo and Washington, D.C.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com. For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Jonathan Root
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Michael J. Mulvaney
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's affirms B2 CFR of United Continental Holdings; outlook stable
No Related Data.
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