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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades Catalyst Manchester to Ba1 from Ba2; positive outlook

07 Sep 2010

Approximately GBP393 million of long-term debt affected

London, 07 September 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has today upgraded to Ba1 from Ba2 the underlying ratings of the GBP218.05 million of index-linked guaranteed secured bonds due 2040 (the Bonds) issued by Catalyst Healthcare (Manchester) Financing plc (the Issuer) and the GBP175 million guaranteed secured loan provided by the European Investment Bank (the EIB Debt). The outlook on the underlying ratings remains positive.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The upgrade of the underlying ratings reflects good construction progress and the improvements achieved in service delivery. Construction works are substantially complete - the outstanding works relate to the demolition of certain buildings. The final completion date is scheduled to occur on 29 October 2010. The improvements achieved in the delivery of hard facilities management (FM) services and in the relationship with the Trust are evidenced by the withdrawal of the two Warning Notices issued by the Trust in 2008 and also agreeing on the monthly hard FM service performance deductions since December 2009. The agreement on hard FM deductions reflects a more cooperative approach by the Trust, Catalyst and the service provider (Sodexo). These positive developments contributed to the lifting of the distribution lock-up by the controlling creditors.

The positive outlook reflects Moody's expectation that over time Catalyst will be able to stabilise the relationship with the Trust and ensure service delivery is in line with the contract.

The Issuer is a financing conduit established in 2004 to on-lend the proceeds of the Bonds and the EIB Debt to Catalyst Healthcare (Manchester) Limited (Catalyst). Catalyst was formed to take over and upgrade an existing hospital estate in the centre of Manchester, England, which now forms a 1,470-bed hospital. The project is being procured and paid for by the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust, formerly known as Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals NHS Trust).

The Bonds and the EIB Debt benefit from an unconditional and irrevocable guarantee of scheduled principal and interest by Ambac Assurance UK Limited (Ambac). However, since Ambac's insurance financial strength rating is now positioned at Caa2 with uncertain outlook, the rating on the Bonds and EIB Debt is currently determined by the underlying rating.

The Ba1 rating reflects the unusual degree of outstanding uncertainties. Key outstanding legacy issues include: the non-agreed performance deductions dating back prior to 2009, agreement on the operational cost impact of the previously implemented variations, resolution of soft FM performance deductions through implementing the required variations in relation to the telecommunication service, rectification of construction snagging items, and agreement on the required cost adjustment regarding the staff transferred from the Trust to Project Co under the TUPE scheme.

The underlying rating could be upgraded and return to investment grade if there is clear continuing evidence of contractual performance at required levels, and there is further significant progress towards the successful resolution of the outstanding legacy issues.

The underlying rating could be lowered if the project suffered a material cost overrun, revenue shortfall or performance failure that could not easily be accommodated within the available contractual protections.

The principal methodology used in rating the Bonds and the EIB Debt was the "Construction Risk in Privately-Financed Public Infrastructure (PFI/PPP/P3) Projects" rating methodology published in December 2007. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating this issuer can also be found on Moody's website.

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Information sources used to prepare the credit rating are the following: parties involved in the ratings, parties not involved in the ratings.

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The rating has been disclosed to the rated entity or its designated agents and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

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London
Marton Zempleni
Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

London
William Coley
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

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Moody's upgrades Catalyst Manchester to Ba1 from Ba2; positive outlook
No Related Data.
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