Update: Moody’s, Fitch Both Confirm EPM’s Investment-Grade Rating Despite Hidroituango Issues
Wall Street bond rater Fitch announced September 12 that it has decided to maintain its “AAA (col)” investment-grade rating for Medellin-based multinational electric power giant EPM — but issued a cautionary “negative” outlook.
The Fitch decision follows in the wake of fellow Wall Street bond rater Moody’s, which last month likewise maintained an investment-grade rating on EPM — but issued a similar cautionary outlook because of an EPM-estimated COP$7 trillion (US$2.27 billion) financial shortfall resulting from infrastructure damage and power-sales delays from the 2.4-gigawatt “Hidroituango” hydroelectric plant in Antioquia.
Commenting on the action, EPM general manager Jorge Londoño de la Cuesta added that “the rating of Fitch Ratings is in addition to that recently obtained by Moody’s Investors Service that ratified the international rating of EPM at ‘Baa3,’ an investment-grade level, and assigned a ‘negative’ outlook, as a demonstration of our company’s efforts to overcome the contingency in the Hidroituango hydroelectric project and continue to advance in our mission to contribute to the well-being of millions of people in the regions where we have a presence.”
The Moody’s rating reflects EPM’s “revenue diversification geographically and, of among businesses, a significant contribution to EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization] by our energy distribution businesses, the condition of relative control of the contingency of the Hidroituango hydroelectric project and the asset-sale plan announced by the company,” according to EPM.
“Moody’s rating also incorporates EPM’s rapid response to the required adjustments in terms of its commercial policy, ensuring the supply of natural gas to dispatch [electric power from] its La Sierra combined-cycle natural gas thermal power station, with an installed capacity of 450-megawatts, as well as the purchase of energy through medium-term contracts to meet the energy obligations contracted for 2020 and 2021.
“With this rating granted by Moody’s, EPM maintains — along with the current BBB (-) rating of Fitch Ratings — a double investment grade, a category considered in the financial market that provides an adequate credit quality and certainty of repayment to the most demanding investors in risk profiles,” EPM added.