Moody's-OK of Puerto Rico airport privatization credit positive

March 4 Mon Mar 4, 2013 9:35am EST

March 4 (Reuters) - Final approvals of a deal to privatize Puerto Rico's main airport add up to a credit positive for the heavily indebted Caribbean island, Moody's Investors Service said on Monday.

"The public-private partnership will provide the cash-strapped Puerto Rico Ports Authority (unrated), the airport's operator, with an immediate up-front lease payment of $615 million," Moody's said.

"Of that amount, $491 million will pay down loans and loan guarantees from the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico (rated Baa3 negative), making the transaction credit positive for GDB, and in turn for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (rated Baa3 negative)."