(The following was released by the rating agency)
MELBOURNE (Standard & Poor's) March 14, 2012--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it has assigned its 'AA-' issue credit rating to Transpower New Zealand Ltd.'s (Transpower; AA-/Stable/A-1+) C$250 million medium-term notes (MTNs).
The five-year notes have been privately placed under Transpower's EUR1 billion MTN program, and will rank pari passu with Transpower's existing unsubordinated and unsecured obligations. The note proceeds will be applied to refinance existing debt, capital expenditure, and general corporate purposes.
Transpower owns and operates New Zealand's only high-voltage transmission network under a natural monopoly, which underpins our view of the company's strong business risk profile. As we expect a very high likelihood of extraordinary support from Transpower's owner, the New Zealand government (AA+/Stable/A-1+), the rating on Transpower is uplifted from its stand-alone credit profile, which we view as 'a-'.
Transpower has several major capital-expenditure projects underway that are progressing satisfactorily, and its financial performance continues to track its forecasts.