TEXT-Fitch affirms Sutton Bridge Financing at 'BBB'
Dec 12 - Fitch Ratings has affirmed Sutton Bridge Financing Ltd's (SBF) senior secured bonds and removed them from Rating Watch Negative (RWN), as follows: GBP195m senior secured bonds due 2022: affirmed at 'BBB'; removed from RWN, Outlook Stable USD150m senior secured bonds due 2022: affirmed at 'BBB'; removed from RWN, Outlook Stable The rating actions follow the issuance of the bonds' redemption notice by SBF on 12 December 2012. The redemption of the bonds is planned to take place on 29 January 2013. EDF Energy has announced the sale of Sutton Bridge Power Station to a Macquarie-led consortium of investors. Completion of the sale is subject to certain conditions including the approval of the sale transaction by the European Commission (EC). The sale will occur after redemption of the SBF bonds. The redemption amount will be GBP100,887,174.10 and USD76,165,116.89, respectively. Fitch is comfortable that these payments will be met as they will be funded using cash accumulated within the issuer group (ca GBP80m) and a loan from EDF Energy. The risk of the sale not being approved by the EC is therefore borne by EDF Energy. The affirmation of the 'BBB' ratings and Stable Outlook are supported by the stable operating and financial performance of the project company due to the protection afforded by the existing Capacity Tolling Agreement (CTA) with EDF Energy. Fitch intends to maintain ratings coverage until the bonds are paid in full. Sutton Bridge Power owns an 819 megawatt (MW) gas-fired power station in England, which was financed in part by the proceeds of the two SBF bond issues. EDF Energy was obliged by the European Commission (EC) to sell the plant in the near term. Additional information is available at www.fitchratings.com. The ratings above were solicited by, or on behalf of, the issuer, and therefore, Fitch has been compensated for the provision of the ratings. Applicable criteria, 'Rating Criteria for Infrastructure and Project Finance' dated 11 July 2012, and 'Rating Criteria for Thermal Power Projects' dated 18 June 2012 are available at www.fitchratings.com. Applicable Criteria and Related Research: Rating Criteria for Infrastructure and Project Finance Rating Criteria for Thermal Power Projects
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