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Rating Action:

Moody's assigns Prime -- 1 short term rating to Dominion Gas Holdings, LLC

23 Dec 2014

New York, December 23, 2014 -- Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") assigned a Prime -- 1 (P-1) short term rating to Dominion Gas Holdings, LLC's (DomGas: A2 stable outlook) new $500 million commercial paper program. Issuances under the program will be used to finance DomGas capital expenditures, acquisitions, repayment of debt, working capital or other corporate purposes. We expect the commercial paper program to be used as a bridge for permanent financing needs and refinanced shortly afterwards with long-term debt.

RATINGS RATIONALE

DomGas' Prime -- 1 short term rating and A2 long term senior unsecured rating reflects its lower risk, rate regulated natural gas pipeline and LDC businesses; a well positioned, diversified asset base; and a stable and predictable financial profile. About two thirds of DomGas' revenues and cash flows are expected to be derived from its interstate gas pipeline businesses, with the remaining third coming from local gas distribution operations (LDC). DomGas enjoys a constructive and supportive regulatory environment at both the pipeline (via the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC) and the LDC (via the Public Utility Commission of Ohio, or PUCO) businesses.

The P-1 rating also reflects our assessment that DomGas' liquidity position is adequate despite a negative free cash flow position. In 2015, we expect roughly $800 million of internal cash flow generation, $810 million in capital expenditures and $340 million in dividend payments. We expect the resulting $350 million cash shortfall to be financed with commercial paper. DomGas does not have any debt maturities until 2016 and on September 30, 2014 had about $16 million of cash on hand.

The new $500 million commercial paper program will be back-stopped by DomGas' existing $500 million sub-limit under parent company Dominion Resources' $4 billion core credit facility. The credit facility is supported by a diverse bank group and has no MAC condition for borrowings. DomGas' sub-limit can be increased or decreased multiple times per year, up to a maximum of $1 billion, and provides same day availability up to the total aggregate amount. This feature provides significant cushion supporting DomGas' liquidity position. As of September 30, 2014 DomGas had no borrowings under its credit facility and was comfortably in compliance with its debt to total cap ratio of 65%. The credit facility expires in April 2019.

Rating Outlook

The stable rating outlook assumes DomGas will maintain a stable financial profile with cash flow coverage of interest and debt ratios at or above 5x and 19%, respectively, going forward. The stable outlook also assumes that DomGas or its assets will not be moved to Dominion Resources' MLP for the foreseeable future.

What Could Change the Rating - Up

The upgrade potential at DomGas is limited in our view and would depend upon a significantly stronger financial profile with cash flow to debt ratios in the high 20% range.

What Could Change the Rating - Down

Ratings could be downgraded if DomGas pursues a more highly levered capital structure resulting in cash flow to debt ratios closer to the mid-teens percentage. A downgrade could also occur if DomGas creates structural subordination risk for its debt by issuing secured debt or financing directly out of its operating subsidiaries or by dropping assets of the gas transmission business, pipeline or the LDC into the MLP.

The methodologies used in this rating were Regulated Electric and Gas Utilities published in December 2013, Moody's Global Short-Term Ratings published in October 2012, and Natural Gas Pipelines published in November 2012. 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 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.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

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.

Swami Venkataraman, CFA
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

William L. Hess
MD - Utilities
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 assigns Prime -- 1 short term rating to Dominion Gas Holdings, LLC
No Related Data.
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