Moody’s Affirms Rating for SC Ports (USA)
Moody’s Investors Service has affirmed an A1 rating for the South Carolina Ports Authority’s (SCPA) outstanding debt and provided a stable outlook, citing the agency’s strong operating history, favorable financial performance and distinct advantages such as deep water.
The ratings update said that due to the SCPA’s competitive advantages, such as proximity to open ocean, highly productive operations and a deep-water harbor, “the authority will be well-positioned after the Panama Canal expansion is completed” in 2015.
Additional strengths noted in the report are the SCPA’s well-balanced trade makeup and diverse business profile, very favorable financial performance and strong debt service coverage.
The report also credited the “strong commitment by the state of South Carolina to fund infrastructure improvements benefiting port activities” as another factor in the affirmed rating. The South Carolina General Assembly included $300 million in funding for the deepening of Charleston Harbor in the most recent legislative session.
The A1 rating on $170 million in outstanding port revenue bonds takes into consideration the port’s growth outlook and aggressive capital program to implement $1.3 billion in improvements over a decade. Revenue bonds issued by the SCPA are an obligation of the Ports Authority – not the state of South Carolina or taxpayers.
Press Release, December 19, 2012