Standard & Poor's lowers airport's credit rating

29 May 2009

Standard and Poor’s has lowered Auckland Airport’s long term credit rating by one notch from “A” to “A-” (A minus).

Since May 2008, the credit rating has been on negative outlook; the outlook at the lower rating is now stable. The Company’s short-term rating has also been lowered one notch, from “A1” to “A2”.

A copy of the announcement from Standard & Poor's (S&P) can be found here.

Chief executive Simon Moutter said Auckland Airport was disappointed but not entirely surprised by the ratings agency’s decision, given the earlier S&P Australasian airport industry review in May 2009 which had noted the global economic downturn was starting to hit those Australian and New Zealand airports rated by S&P.

S&P had indicated a year ago that the Company’s credit-related metrics were struggling to justify an “A” rating. Mr Moutter said a significant improvement in the metrics could only be achieved through sustained revenue growth on the back of higher passenger volumes, but the recent decline in passenger volumes due to the global recession had pushed back revenue growth projections.

S&P had now indicated to the Company that its credit-related metrics were comfortably within the range for an “A-” rating and that Auckland Airport’s liquidity was strong.

He said the Company still enjoyed a strong credit rating. Despite the re-rating, Auckland Airport still has the highest rating (equal with Melbourne) of all Australasian airports, and continues to rate ahead of Sydney, Brisbane, Christchurch and Wellington.

Mr Moutter said Auckland Airport was committed to maintaining a strong credit rating and balance sheet by prudently managing its financial position in the current challenging business environment. Initiatives have included maximising operating cash flows by tightly managing operating costs and eliminating non-essential capital expenditure. The Company has also actively managed its Treasury, with the refinancing of $650 million of bank debt and standby facilities during FY2008 and two long dated bond issues totalling $180 million in FY2009.


For enquiries, please contact:

Andrew Pirie
Strategic communications advisor
Auckland Airport
+64 9 256 8866
+64 21 0253 7357