Standard & Poor’s has revised its outlook for Auckland International Airport Ltd (AIAL) from positive to stable and affirmed its “A-/A-2” credit rating.
The ratings agency says that the revision follows a recent announcement that the airport will return NZ$454 million ($372 million) in capital to shareholders by mid-April 2014, which will largely be debt-funded.
“The increase in debt will drive a relative weakening of the key financial metrics over the short term, in relation to our prior expectations, although this deterioration is not severe enough to result in the ratings being under downward pressure,” says credit analyst Thomas Jacquot.
The agency adds that the rating could come under pressure if the airport increased its short-term capital expenditure programme, made a material acquisition or encountered adverse regulatory developments.
AIAL chief financial officer Simon Robertson says that the revision was in line with its expectations.
“Today’s Standard & Poor’s announcement can give confidence to investors that Auckland Airport remains a solid investment with a strong A- credit rating,” he says.