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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades NGC's rating to Baa1; rating placed on review for downgrade

13 Aug 2010

New York, August 13, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service downgraded the senior unsecured bond rating of The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC) to Baa1 from A3. The rating was placed on review for further possible downgrade.

The change in NGC's rating reflects Moody's reassessment of the default dependence between NGC and the government of Trinidad & Tobago (Baa1, Stable) under Moody's rating methodology for Government-Related Issuers (GRIs). Moody's views the correlation of default dependence on credit factors that could cause stress to both NGC and the government simultaneously as being in the high range rather than the medium range. Furthermore, Moody's believes it is not appropriate to assign a rating to NGC that is higher than that of the government of Trinidad & Tobago's local currency rating of Baa1. The resulting dependence assumption and Baa1 rating are more consistent with other GRIs that have similar characteristics globally.

The increased level of default dependence reflects Moody's view that the economic drivers of the financial profiles of NGC and the government of Trinidad & Tobago are highly correlated. Moody's believes that in most cases, GRI's demonstrate moderate to very high degrees of default dependence with their supporting governments due to institutional linkages and shared exposure to economic conditions that draw credit profiles together, the importance of which was highlighted during the recent global economic crisis. In the case of NGC and the government of Trinidad & Tobago, both issuers' credit profiles are highly exposed to the cyclical energy sector and the energy sector has been growing in scope and in importance to Trinidad's economy over a period of many years. The higher dependence assumption is also more consistent with Moody's dependence assumptions for similar issuers in economies in which the energy sector represents a key industry.

The rating downgrade does not reflect any changes in our view of NGC's stand-alone credit risk profile, which maps to the Ba1-Ba3 range, or our assessment of the very high degree of support Moody's assumes the government of Trinidad & Tobago would provide if necessary to NGC given its 100% ownership stake in the company and the strategic importance of the gas sector to the country's economy, which results in several notches of uplift to the final rating.

The review for possible downgrade reflects the lack of audited financial statements for year-end 2009. The rating could be withdrawn if NGC's audited financial statements are not completed in a timely manner and Moody's determines that it lacks sufficient financial information to appropriately monitor the company's credit. The rating could be confirmed if NGC is able to become current on its audited financial statements for the year ending 2009; however, the rating would be subject to a full review of the audited financial statements.

Moody's previous rating action on NGC was on January 9, 2006, when Moody's assigned NGC an A3 senior unsecured bond rating with a stable outlook.

The principal methodologies used in rating NGC were Government-Related Issuers: Methodology Update published in July 2010 and Moody's Midstream Energy Companies & Partnerships rating methodology published in September 2007, both of which can be found at 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 NGC can also be found in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory on Moody's website.

Based in Point Lisas, Trinidad, NGC is a 100% state-owned enterprise entrusted with the transmission and distribution of natural gas in Trinidad and Tobago.

New York
Steven Wood
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

New York
Gretchen French
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Corporate 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 downgrades NGC's rating to Baa1; rating placed on review for downgrade
No Related Data.
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