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Rating Action:

Moody's announces impact on local Italian utility companies following downgrade of several regional and local governments

16 Feb 2012

London, 16 February 2012 -- Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded the issuer rating of Compagnia Valdostana delle Acque S.p.A. (CVA) to A3 from A2. The outlook assigned to the rating is stable.

Concurrently, Moody's says that the ratings of the following company remain unchanged:

- The Baa3 issuer and senior unsecured ratings with a negative outlook of Acquedotto Pugliese S.p.A.

These announcements follow (i) Moody's recent decision to downgrade the Republic of Italy's sovereign rating to A3 with a negative outlook from A2, as announced on 13 February 2012; and (ii) the downgrade of the ratings of several regional and local governments in Italy, as announced on 15 February 2012. For full details, please refer to the webpage containing all of Moody's related announcements http://www.moodys.com/EUSovereign.

This concludes announcements on local Italian utility companies, following the downgrade of the ratings of several regional and local governments in Italy.

RATINGS RATIONALE

COMPAGNIA VALDOSTANA DELLE ACQUE S.P.A.

CVA is 100% owned by the Region of Valle d'Aosta. In Moody's view, in the context of the general weakened creditworthiness of local governments in Italy, the likelihood of CVA receiving extraordinary support from its sole shareholder has diminished. Consequently, Moody's has eliminated the one-notch uplift that it had previously incorporated into CVA's rating. As a result, CVA's current A3 rating reflects the company's standalone credit quality.

CVA's standalone credit quality recognises the company's strong financial profile, solid liquidity position and relatively conservative financial policy, which have resulted in strong credit metrics. CVA's standalone rating positioning also reflects the company's continued focus on regional operations, as confirmed by CVA's strategy to use some of its financial flexibility to recently acquire the companies Deval and Vallenergie, which are active in electricity distribution and supply in the Region of Valle d'Aosta. At the same time, CVA's rating also reflects its niche position and small size in the context of the Italian market and its relatively high business risk profile as a power generator, albeit with an attractive portfolio of hydro assets.

For the current A3 rating, Moody's would expect CVA to exhibit the following metrics: (i) a funds from operations (FFO)/net debt ratio of at least 40%; and (ii) a retained cash flow (RCF)/net debt ratio in the low thirties in percentage terms on a sustainable basis.

In accordance with Moody's previously published guidance, infrastructure & utility companies would not be expected to have a rating more than one to two notches above that of the sovereign. As such, the stable outlook on CVA's rating recognises the continued strong positioning of the company's credit metrics and solid liquidity profile, and reflects the possibility that CVA's rating could exceed the rating of the sovereign.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING UP / DOWN

Given CVA's current rating positioning in the context of the sovereign rating, no upward rating pressure is expected in the intermediate term.

Further negative pressure on CVA's rating could develop in case of (i) a weakening of the sovereign and macroeconomic environment; (ii) a deterioration of CVA's financial profile at a level inconsistent with the ratios guidance discussed above; (iii) an aggressive investment strategy into riskier generation assets and/or type of activities; and/or (iv) a weakening of CVA's liquidity position as a result of large cash outflows or a deterioration in the quality of the company's portfolio of liquidity investments.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGIES

COMPAGNIA VALDOSTANA DELLE ACQUE S.P.A.

The principal methodology used in the rating of Compagnia Valdostana delle Acque S.p.A. was the Unregulated Utilities and Power Companies Methodology, published in August 2009. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of these methodologies.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides relevant 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 relevant 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 relevant 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.

The ratings have been disclosed to the rated entities or their designated agents and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

Information sources used to prepare the ratings are the following: parties involved in the ratings, parties not involved in the ratings, public information, confidential and proprietary Moody's Investors Service information, and confidential and proprietary Moody's Analytics information.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a rating is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, Moody's is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Moody's considers the quality of information available on the rated entity, obligation or credit satisfactory for the purposes of issuing a rating

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Please see the ratings disclosure page on www.moodys.com for general disclosure on potential conflicts of interests.

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Please see Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions on the Rating Process page on www.moodys.com for further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history.

The date on which some ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

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.

Raffaella Altamura
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Infrastructure Finance
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Monica Merli
MD - Infrastructure Finance
Infrastructure Finance
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's announces impact on local Italian utility companies following downgrade of several regional and local governments
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