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Moody's upgrade ESB, Bord Gais debt

Tuesday, January 21 12:26:50

Global credit ratings agency, Moody's, today upgraded the debt issued by the ESB's finance arm and Bord Gais' debt, citing last week's move to reinstate Ireland's sovereign debt to investor status.

Both the ESB and Bord Gais were upgraded by one notch to Baa2, two notches above junk status.

Moody's today upgraded the issuer rating of Electricity Supply Board and the guaranteed debt issued by its finance subsidiary, ESB Finance Limited, to Baa2 from Baa3.

The agency has concurrently upgraded to (P)Baa2 from (P)Baa3 the rating of the group's EMTN programme and ESB's short-term issuer rating to Prime-2 from Prime-3.

In addition, the outlook on the ratings has been changed to positive from stable.

It also upgraded the issuer rating and the senior unsecured ratings of Bord Gais Eireann (BGE) and the debt issued under its Euro Medium Term Note (EMTN) Programme to Baa2 from Baa3.

Moody's has concurrently upgraded BGE's short-term issuer rating to Prime-2 from Prime-3 and the rating of the EMTN Programme of BGE and its finance subsidiary BGE Finance Public Limited Company (BGEF) to (P)Baa2 from (P)Baa3.

The outlook on its ratings has also been changed to positive from stable.

Moody's said the upgrades recognise that Bord Gais and the ESB's ratings are constrained by Ireland's government bond rating.

"Notwithstanding the deterioration in the macroeconomic environment, Bord Gais has effectively managed the challenges associated with maintaining cash flow, key financial metrics and liquidity," Moody's said.

With regard to the ESB, Moody's noted how revenue has increased year-on-year since 2010 with cash flow generation supported by effective management of costs.