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15 Dec 2009
London, 15 December 2009 -- In a new Rating Methodology report, Moody's Investors Service details
the key analytical factors that contribute to its ratings of regulated
water utilities that are privately financed. It also offers guidance
as to how Moody's analysts assess each of these factors and combine the
outputs to arrive at a final rating for the company in question.
The Rating Methodology report -- entitled "Global Regulated
Water Utilities" -- covers rating considerations for water
utilities that are responsible for funding the water infrastructure assets
indefinitely or for the duration of a concession or operational contract.
It does not capture pure service operators. As before, Moody's
will continue to rate non-corporate water utilities, such
as privately-financed, public infrastructure projects (PFI
or PPP) and public sector utilities, with separate methodologies.
The four key factors that Moody's uses to examine credit risk and assign
ratings in the regulated water utility sector are: (1) regulatory
environment and asset ownership model; (2) operational characteristics
and asset risk; (3) stability of business model and financial structure;
and (4) key credit metrics.
"This rating methodology largely codifies existing practice and
is not expected to result in any rating changes purely as a result of
its introduction. The format of the rating methodology follows
that of our methodology for regulated electric and gas networks,
and recognises common analytical themes across major international infrastructure
borrowers," says Stefanie Voelz, an Analyst in Moody's
Infrastructure Finance Group and the author of the report. "In
light of the variety of financing alternatives available to regulated
water utilities, we also outline a number of additional factors
-- in particular structural enhancements --
that we consider in addition to the four key rating factors and that may
be a source of rating uplift."
The aim of this rating methodology is to provide investors, issuers
and banking intermediaries with a detailed reference tool to gauge a regulated
water utility's rating within two notches of where a Moody's
rating committee may actually assign a rating. While the rating
methodology aims to offer robust guidelines as to how Moody's rates
regulated water utilities, Moody's cautions that no issuer
will match exactly every factor outlined for a given rating category;
the rating outcome is rather a balance of all the factors we have identified.
As a result of the publication of the new global rating methodology for
regulated water methodologies, Moody's will discontinue the
use of previous methodologies for the sector. Accordingly,
the following methodologies have been superseded by the new regulated
water utility methodology:
- The UK Water Sector: Moody's Approach to Rating Highly
Leveraged Structures for Asset Ownership, February 2001
- The UK Water Sector: Financial Parameters and Structural
Enhancements for Leveraged Financings, July 2002.
However, given the prominence of the UK water sector in the debt
capital markets, Moody's will continue to provide extensive
detailed research for this geographical market, which will remain
relevant for the issuer-specific credit analysis.
* * * * * *
NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information please contact New
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Scholz in Frankfurt +49-69-707-30-700;
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Infrastructure Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454
Moody's: new rating methodology for regulated water utilities
Infrastructure Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454
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