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Announcement:

Moody's affirms United Waterworks at Baa1; Outlook Stable

19 Aug 2010

New York, August 19, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service today affirmed the senior unsecured rating of United Waterworks Inc., (UW) at Baa1 and changed the rating outlook to stable from negative.

Today's rating action acknowledges the moderate improvement in UW's credit metrics evidenced through the first half of 2010, and our observation that UW continues to maintain constructive regulatory relationships in its service areas. UW is a holding company with regulated water utility operations in eight states, primarily in the northeastern U.S. The high level of capital spending associated with maintaining its water facilities necessitates a steady schedule of rate cases to avoid regulatory lag and subsequent weakening of credit metrics. UW has had some success in this regard and is now reporting credit metrics more in line with its Baa1 rating. For example, funds from operations to debt has improved to 16% (LTM June 30, 2010) from 13% at year-end 2009, reflecting better weather conditions and additional revenue from rate cases settled in 2009-2010.

Moody's currently maintains a negative outlook at UW's ultimate parent, Paris, based Suez Environnement Company, (SE: A3 Issuer Rating ). However, we believe that SE's negative rating outlook is not an overriding concern for UW's credit profile as SE continues to exhibit healthy cash flows. Moreover, given the modest capital requirements expected at UW, incremental downstream cash infusions from the parent are not expected to be material in the near-term. Nevertheless, SE's credit profile will continue to be an important rating consideration; particularly given the fact that we view UW's external standalone liquidity as weak and atypical for an investment grade utility.

UW's liquidity is provided by a combination of operating cash flows, contributions from its parent, and short-term uncommitted credit lines. The company maintains several uncommitted credit lines (with staggered expirations no longer than one year) totaling $78 million. At June 30, 2010, approximately $51 million was drawn under these facilities. We view uncommitted credit facilities as the weakest form of external liquidity and this is viewed as a negative rating factor for UW. Nevertheless, the company has no significant debt maturities until 2017, and the continued ownership by SE could provide an additional source of capital if needed. We note that United Water Resources, Inc., an intermediate holding company of SE, has directed approximately $85 million of equity capital to UW in support of its capital spending program from 2007-2009. Moody's expects UW will generate approximately $60-65 million of funds from operations over the next twelve months and that capital spending may approximate $70-80 million, requiring some external financing.

Ratings affirmed include all UW's senior unsecured debt and all senior unsecured tax-exempt debt rated Baa1.

The last rating action on UW occurred on November 2, 2009, when Moody's downgraded UW's senior unsecured rating one notch to Baa1 from A3 and changed the rating outlook to negative from stable.

The principal methodology used in rating UW was Global Regulated Water Utilities: published in December 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 this issuer can also be found in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory on Moody's website.

Headquartered in Harrington Park, New Jersey, United Waterworks, Inc., is the second largest wholly-owned subsidiary of United Water Resources Inc., a subsidiary of the Paris based conglomerate, Suez Environnement Company. For the twelve-months ended June 30, 2010, UW reported revenues of $185 million and balance sheet debt of $342 million.

New York
James O'Shaughnessy
Analyst
Infrastructure Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

New York
A.J. Sabatelle
Senior Vice President
Infrastructure Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's Investors Service
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
USA

Moody's affirms United Waterworks at Baa1; Outlook Stable
No Related Data.
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