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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades Autopista Monterrey Cadereyta to Baa2

 The document has been translated in other languages

15 Dec 2009

New York, December 15, 2009 -- Moody's Investors Service has upgraded the global scale rating on the Autopista Monterrey Cadereyta to Baa2 from Baa3. In addition, Moody's de Mexico S.A. de C.V. has assigned a Mexico National Scale rating of Aa2.mx to the transaction.

The upgrade of the rating is driven by the ability of the toll road to generate revenues that produce debt service coverage in the range of 1.7x, and the prepayment of principal on the bonds. Consequently, the debt outstanding, in inflation adjusted Unidades de Inversion (UDIs), in June 2009 was in the range of what was expected to be outstanding in June 2017. Through the financial crisis, the toll road has experienced traffic declines that are in line with that of other toll roads in Mexico rated by Moody's. Even though recovery in Mexico is anticipated to be long and slow, Monterrey Cadereyta's recent history of robust traffic figures and the fundamental strength of the asset place it in a good position, relative to its peers, to be resilient once the effects of the crisis begin to lift.

Other key factors supporting the rating are the fundamental credit quality of the asset given its favorable road alignment, the strong service area, a positive operating history, and adequate bondholder protections. The Certificates are principally secured by the assignment of toll collection rights from the Monterrey-Cadereyta Toll Road for a period of 30 years to the Trust by the Red Estatal de Autopistas de Nuevo Leon.

Since the first payment period, the flows transferred from the REA to the trust have been sufficient to pre pay a portion of principal, which has brought debt in UDIs to a level below that expected at this point. In fact, the amount of debt in UDIs outstanding at June 2009 is close to that which was anticipated for June 2017. Preliminary figures for 2009 indicate that cash transferred to the trust was sufficient to cover scheduled debt service at about the same level, allowing the trust to once again make principal prepayments on the debt.

The relatively strong and higher than planned results come about from traffic flows and related revenues that have exceeded expectations almost from the beginning. As of June 2009, traffic flows, measured in 'equivalent trips' registered 26% more than that anticipated in the closing financial model. Projections through December for real traffic figures indicate that these will be 7.5% lower than those of CY 2008, which is within the range experienced by other toll road operators in Mexico. REA anticipates that in 2010 traffic will at the very least remain flat.

The Autopista Monterrey-Cadereyta is owned by an agency of the State of Nuevo Leon (Baa3/Aa3.mx) called the Red Estatal de Autopistas (REA). The road is one of the primary east-west approaches to the metropolitan Monterrey region, providing a high-speed connection from the eastern portion of the city eastward to Cadereyta and beyond to the city of Reynosa. With regards to future competing routes, in conjunction with the sale of Certificates, the State signed an agreement with the Trust ensuring that to the extent new alternative competing roads are built or existing competing roads are improved and this results in a reduction of toll revenues for Monterrey-Cadereyta, the state will compensate the Trust for the revenue loss or would provide for a restructuring of the debt with an extension of the toll collection rights.

A key credit strength supporting the ratings is the vitality and importance of metropolitan Monterrey (Ba1/A1.mx) and the State of Nuevo Leon (Baa3/Aa3.mx). The proximity to the U.S. border as well as its well developed interconnections through an airport and other routes to important cities in northern Mexico, have made Monterrey the international business and service center for the northern part of the country. The degree of economic diversification helps to insulate Monterrey from the volatility experienced by other cities in border states where there may be heavier reliance on maquila activities.

Currently 92% of the vehicles using the toll road are automobiles and approximately 65% of the trips during the work week are work related. Given the diverse and developed nature of the city and state economies and the long-standing location of the toll road within the regional transport network, it seems likely that the well-established patterns of user behavior will continue in the long run, absent a very substantial reconfiguration of the regional road network.

The principal methodology used in rating Autopista Monterrey Cadereyta was Moody's Rating Methodology for Operational Toll Roads published in December 2006 and available on 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 this issuer can also be found in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory on Moody's website. The last rating action on this issuer was taken on December 4, 2006 when the underlying global scale rating was assigned.

Autopista Monterrey-Cadereyta is-a government-related issuer (GRI) in accordance with Moody's rating methodology entitled "The Application of Joint Default Analysis for Government-Related Issuers". Moody's methodology for GRIs systematically incorporates into the rating the company's stand-alone credit risk profile or Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) as well as the likelihood that a government would provide extraordinary support to that company's debt obligations

New York
Laura Barrientos
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

New York
Chee Mee Hu
Managing Director
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's upgrades Autopista Monterrey Cadereyta to Baa2
No Related Data.
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