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Showing posts from March 8, 2019

McIntosh County Independent School District No. 19 (Checotah Public Schools), OK 'A' Rating Affirmed On Stable Finances

CENTENNIAL (S&P Global Ratings) March 8, 2019--S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'A' long-term rating on Checotah Educational Facilities Authority, Okla.'s educational facilities lease revenue bonds, issued on behalf of McIntosh County Independent School District No. 19 (Checotah Public Schools). At the same time, S&P Global Ratings removed the rating from CreditWatch where it was placed on Dec. 4, 2018, with negative implications. The outlook is stable. The removal of the CreditWatch reflects our access to sufficient information to assess the rating. "While the district experienced deficits in fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017 that pressured finances, it posted a surplus in fiscal 2018, bringing reserves from a low of 8.1% to 16.1%," said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Benjamin Burrows. While enrollment declined significantly in 2017, it stabilized in 2018. District officials expect to be able to maintain structurally balanced operations g

King County Fire Protection District No. 38 (Eastside), WA UTGO Bond Rating Raised To 'AA-' On Very Strong Fund Balances

SAN FRANCISCO (S&P Global Ratings) March 8, 2019--S&P Global Ratings raised its long-term rating to 'AA-' from 'A+' on King County Fire Protection District No. 38 (Eastside), Wash.'s series 2011 unlimited-tax general obligation (UTGO) bonds. The outlook is stable. "The upgrade reflects our view of the district's very strong available fund balances with stable expenditures due to the district's contract with Eastside Fire and Rescue (EF&R) through an interlocal agreement with four neighboring entities," said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Jen Hansen. The UTGO rating also reflects our opinion of the fire district's: Taxing area that encompasses an exurban Seattle area with very strong incomes, and Maintenance of very strong available fund balances well over 100% of expenditures. In our view, the preceding credit strengths are partly offset by: Statutory limits on the district's revenue flexibility, and

Upstate Properties Development Inc., NY Bond Rating Outlook Revised To Negative On Weak Occupancy

NEW YORK (S&P Global Ratings) March 8, 2019--S&P Global Ratings revised its outlook to negative from stable and affirmed its 'A+' long-term rating on Onondaga Civic Development Corp., N.Y.'s $32 million series 2011 revenue bonds issued for Upstate Properties Development Inc. (UPDI). "The outlook revision reflects recent weak occupancy at the student-housing facility due to increasing competition from newer, private, off-campus student housing facilities that may cause UPDI's debt service coverage for fiscal 2019 to either just meet the minimum 1.10x rate covenant requirement or possibly dip slightly below that level in our view," said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Ken Rodgers. UPDI is a New York not-for-profit corporation organized to support the State University of New York-Upstate Medical University (SUNY-UMU) by development, construction, and rental of student housing for SUNY-UMU. UPDI used bond proceeds from the series 2011

Consolidated Communications Holdings Inc. Downgraded To 'B' On Underperformance; Outlook Negative

Mattoon, Ill.-based incumbent telecommunications provider Consolidated Communications Holdings Inc. is underperforming our expectations because of ongoing secular industry pressures and continued weak performance in its consumer broadband business. We are lowering all ratings by one notch, including our issuer credit rating on Consolidated to 'B' from 'B+'. The negative outlook reflects secular industry pressures and the possibility that Consolidated will not reverse its declining revenue trends over the next year, which would pressure EBITDA and cash flow and make it difficult for the company to reduce leverage longer term. NEW YORK (S&P Global Ratings) March 8, 2019—S&P Global Ratings today took the rating actions above. The downgrade reflects our expectation that Consolidated's adjusted leverage will remain above 5x over the next couple of years, which is above our threshold for the 'B+' rating, because of revenue declines in the

Pennsylvania Local Government, School District Credit Quality Remains Stable Despite Revenue Limits, Says New Report

NEW YORK (S&P Global Ratings) March 8, 2019—S&P Global Ratings considers Pennsylvania's overall economy strong and diverse with major metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but the state does have a weak demographic profile compared with the rest of the country. According to a new report titled, "Medians And Credit Factors: Pennsylvania Counties, Municipalities, And School Districts" (published March 8, 2019, on RatingsDirect), economic growth in the commonwealth is still projected to be slower than the nation, given its aging population and lack of population growth. "This will continue to cause economic challenges and create potential for weaker tax revenue growth, so prudent budget management by local governments and school districts will be key to maintaining credit quality," said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Moreen Skyers-Gibbs. Throughout the commonwealth, persistent problems from weak dem

Blue Mound, TX Certificate Rating Raised To 'A' On Improved Financial Performance

CENTENNIAL (S&P Global Ratings) March 8, 2019--S&P Global Ratings raised its rating to 'A' from 'A-' on the city of Blue Mound, Texas' series 2015 certificates of obligation. The outlook is stable. "The rating change reflects improved financial performance, including positive operating results and increased reserves in fiscal 2018," said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Kimberly Barrett. Based on recent results and projections for fiscal 2019, we expect budgetary performance and flexibility to remain stable over the two-year outlook period. The upgrade also reflects the city's strong debt profile, with the majority of debt being supported by enterprise funds, and therefore not affecting general government operations. In addition, the city's pension and other post-employment benefit obligations are limited as a portion of the overall budget, and therefore we do not anticipate these liabilities to create financial pressures.

Affinion Group Downgraded To 'SD' After Missed Interest Payment On Term Loan In Connection With Restructuring Plan

U.S.-based loyalty and customer engagement solutions company Affinion Group Holdings Inc. elected not to pay the Feb. 19 $22.2 million interest payment on its first-lien term loan due May 10, 2022, as it has entered into a forbearance agreement with its first-lien lenders. We believe Affinion's decision to forgo its interest payment is strategic because it proposed a new recapitalization plan and negotiated with lenders to restructure the balance sheet, and not due to insufficient liquidity given cash on hand. We lowered our issuer credit rating on Affinion to 'SD' (selective default) from 'CCC-' and our issue-level rating on its senior secured revolver and term loan to 'D' from 'CCC-'. We view the missed interest payment as tantamount to a default under our rating methodology. We expect to review the ratings once the restructuring process is complete, incorporating the final terms of the company's capital structure. Based on our p

Swedish Municipality of Taby 'AAA' And 'K-1' Ratings Affirmed; Outlook Stable

A wealthy tax base underpins Taby's strong fiscal flexibility and expected asset sales will allow it to avoid building up debt during rapid population growth. We expect debt to stay moderate and liquidity to remain exceptionally strong. We are affirming our 'AAA' global scale and 'K-1' Nordic regional scale ratings on Taby. The outlook is stable. RATING ACTION On March 8, 2019, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'AAA' long-term issuer credit rating on the Swedish Municipality of Taby. The outlook is stable. At the same time, we affirmed our 'K-1' Nordic regional scale rating on Taby. OUTLOOK The stable outlook reflects our view that Taby's moderate debt, exceptional liquidity, and strong flexibility put it in a strong financial position. The municipality's wealthy and expanding economy should allow Taby to continue its solid budgetary performance and prudent management of its only gradually increasing debt, which is likely

XPO Logistics Inc. $500 Million Senior Secured Term Loan Add-On Rated 'BBB-'; Senior Unsecured Rating Lowered To 'BB-'

NEW YORK (S&P Global Ratings) March 8, 2019--S&P Global Ratings today assigned its 'BBB-' issue-level rating and '1' recovery rating to XPO Logistics Inc.'s proposed $500 million add-on to its senior secured term loan. The '1' recovery rating reflects our expectation for very high recovery (90%-100%; rounded estimate: 95%) in the event of a payment default. Due to the additional secured debt, we also lowered our issue-level rating on the company's senior unsecured debt to 'BB-' from 'BB' and revised the recovery rating to '5' from '4'. The '5' recovery rating reflects our expectation for modest recovery (10%-30%; rounded estimate: 20%) in the event of a payment default. ISSUE RATINGS – RECOVERY ANALYSIS Key analytical factors: XPO Logistics plans to issue a $500 million add-on to its senior secured term loan. We are assigning a '1' recovery rating (rounded estimate: 95%) and 'B

German State of Bavaria Ratings Affirmed At 'AAA/A-1+'; Outlook Stable

We believe Germany's state of Bavaria will maintain very sustainable fiscal policies, using its fiscal headroom for expanded spending in its new financial planning period that lasts through 2022. We anticipate the state's 2018 budgetary performance substantially exceeded its budget, with after-capital accounts at a surplus of 7.0% of total revenues for 2018. We are affirming our 'AAA/A-1+' ratings on Bavaria. The outlook is stable. RATING ACTION On March 8, 2019, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'AAA' long-term and 'A-1+' short-term issuer credit ratings on the German State of Bavaria. The outlook is stable. At the same time, we affirmed our 'AAA' issue ratings on Bavaria's senior unsecured debt. OUTLOOK The stable outlook reflects our view that Bavaria's financial management remains committed to achieving very strong budgetary performances over the next three years, using its fiscal headroom for expanded fiscal spen

NextEra Energy Capital Holdings Inc. Junior Subordinated Debentures Due 2079 Assigned 'BBB' Issue Rating

NEW YORK (S&P Global Ratings) March 8, 2019--S&P Global Ratings today assigned its 'BBB' issue-level rating to Juno Beach, Fla.-based diversified clean energy company NextEra Energy Capital Holdings Inc.'s (NEECH) series N junior subordinated debentures due 2079. NEECH intends to use the net proceeds from these notes to redeem short-term debt and for general corporate purposes. We classify these notes as hybrid securities with intermediate equity content (50%). We rate the securities two notches below our 'A-' long-term issuer credit rating on NEECH to reflect their subordination and the company's ability to defer interest payments on the notes. Our intermediate equity treatment is premised on the instrument's permanence, subordination, and deferability features. The security's long-dated nature, along with the company's limited ability and lack of incentives to redeem the issue for a long-dated period, meets our standards for pe

Kazakhstan 'BBB-/A-3' Ratings Affirmed; Outlook Stable

The President's recent dismissal of the government corroborates our view of highly centralized government decision-making, reducing the predictability of future policy responses. We expect Kazakhstan will maintain its strong net general government and external asset positions through 2022. We are therefore affirming our 'BBB-/A-3' foreign and local currency sovereign ratings on Kazakhstan. The outlook remains stable. RATING ACTION On March 8, 2019, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'BBB-/A-3' long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Kazakhstan. The outlook is stable. We also affirmed our 'kzAAA' national scale rating on Kazakhstan. The transfer and convertibility assessment on Kazakhstan remains 'BBB'. OUTLOOK The stable outlook reflects our expectation that, over the next two years, Kazakhstan's government and external balance sheets will remain robust. We could raise the ratings if monet

Congo-Brazzaville 'B-/B' Ratings Affirmed; Outlook Stable

We expect Congo-Brazzaville's external and fiscal vulnerabilities will remain high in the coming years. We consider that default risks on its single Eurobond have diminished. We are affirming our 'B-/B' ratings on Congo-Brazzaville. The outlook is stable. RATING ACTION On March 8, 2019, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'B-' long-term and 'B' short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Congo-Brazzaville. The outlook is stable. OUTLOOK The stable outlook balances our expectation that external and fiscal pressures will decrease over the next 12 months against continuous institutional and economic risks. We could lower our ratings if, for example, new claims made under foreign laws or institutional mismanagement hinder full and timely payment to investors, or if external and fiscal pressures were to increase significantly. We could raise the ratings if Congo's external and fiscal accounts performed well above our

Denmark Ratings Affirmed At 'AAA/A-1+'; Outlook Stable

Denmark's economy is in a strong position, in our view, and will continue to grow by 1.7% over the coming years, despite slower global trade and a reduction in households' ratio of debt to disposable income. Denmark continues to benefit from a strong institutional framework that promotes fiscal discipline, and a modest public-sector debt burden. We are therefore affirming our 'AAA/A-1+' ratings on Denmark. The outlook remains stable. RATING ACTION On March 8, 2019, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its unsolicited 'AAA' long-term and 'A-1+' short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Denmark. The outlook is stable. OUTLOOK The stable outlook reflects our expectation that Denmark's strong economic, fiscal, external, and monetary credit metrics can withstand most foreseeable shocks. We expect Denmark will maintain low government debt, which we see as an important factor to offset some of the risks associated with th

Republic of North Macedonia 'BB-/B' Ratings Affirmed; Outlook Stable

The Republic of North Macedonia's resolution of the long-lasting name dispute with Greece in January 2019 is a major milestone, but we do not expect to see an immediate material effect on North Macedonia's economy. We expect North Macedonia to formally begin EU accession talks this year. This could accelerate a number of structural reforms as part of the negotiations, although EU membership is unlikely in the near future. We are affirming the 'BB-/B' long- and short- term sovereign ratings on North Macedonia. The outlook is stable. RATING ACTION On March 8, 2019, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of North Macedonia at 'BB-/B'. The outlook is stable. OUTLOOK The stable outlook reflects the balance between the risks from North Macedonia's rising public debt and still comparatively modest income levels, and its favorable economic prospects alongside the p