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Announcement:

Moody's confirms Willbros' ratings; outlook revised to negative

Global Credit Research - 29 Mar 2011

Approximately $475 million of rated debt instruments affected

Toronto, March 29, 2011 -- Moody's Investors Service confirmed Willbros United States Holdings Inc.'s ("Willbros") B3 corporate family rating, B3 probability of default rating, and B3 senior secured bank ratings, but changed the ratings outlook to negative. The confirmation of the ratings reflects that Willbros has obtained an amendment to its bank credit facility, which alleviates our immediate concerns with respect to covenant compliance through the first quarter of 2011. Our concerns over the adequacy of the company's liquidity position nonetheless persist through the second and third quarters of 2011, which is the basis for the negative outlook and affirmation of Willbros' SGL-4 speculative grade liquidity rating, reflecting weak liquidity. This action concludes a review for possible downgrade initiated February 18, 2011.

Willbros' B3 corporate family rating is constrained by its liquidity pressures coupled with weaker than expected earnings following its levered acquisition of InfrastruX Group, Inc. ("InfrastruX") in mid-2010. The rating also considers the concentration of its engineering and construction services within cyclical oil and gas markets in North America which have been impacted by weak demand and heightened competition. Contract delays and restructuring charges have compounded these challenges, which raise our concern that margin pressures may persist through 2011 and hinder the company's ability to reduce its adjusted Debt/EBITDA leverage of roughly 5.2x over the next year. In turn, the company's ability to maintain compliance with its bank financial covenants is uncertain in our opinion. Willbros' rating is supported by its established market position, significant experience with blue chip customers and recent positive order trends, which have supported a modest growth in backlog levels.

Downward rating action could occur if there is increased likelihood that Willbros will not maintain compliance with its bank financial covenants, or be unable to obtain relief from a pending covenant default. Downward rating pressure could also develop if the company sustained its adjusted leverage above 5.5x. The outlook could be returned to stable if the company alleviates our concerns over covenant compliance. While not likely in the near term, the rating could be moved up should the company maintain an adequate liquidity profile and sustain adjusted leverage below 4.5x.

Moody's last rating action was on February 18, 2011 when we downgraded Willbros' long term ratings to B3 from B2 and placed the ratings under review for further possible downgrade.

The principal methodologies used in this rating were Global Construction Methodology published in November 2010, and Loss Given Default for Speculative-Grade Non-Financial Companies in the U.S., Canada and EMEA published in June 2009.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Willbros United States Holdings, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of publicly traded Willbros Group, Inc. The companies provide engineering and construction (E&C) services to the oil, gas and power industries, and also provide end-to-end infrastructure construction services, primarily for the electric and natural gas utility end-markets through the July 2010 acquisition of InfrastruX. Pro-forma revenue for 2010 is estimated at $1.5 billion.

Toronto
Darren M. Kirk
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Canada Inc.
(416) 214-1635

Toronto
Donald S. Carter, CFA
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Canada Inc.
(416) 214-1635

Moody's Canada Inc.
70 York Street
Suite 1400
Toronto, ON M5J 1S9
Canada
(416) 214-1635

Moody's confirms Willbros' ratings; outlook revised to negative
No Related Data.
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