‘Most rated infra and project finance Cos can manage bond refinancing risks through 2023’


Most rated infrastructure and project finance companies can manage their bond refinancing risks through 2023, because the bond maturities are highly skewed towards investment-grade companies, which tend to have strong access to funding, Moody’s Investors Service said in a research report on Thursday.

The report said that the liquidity of Asian bond markets also provides ample support for these issuers’ refinancing needs.

“Specifically, utilities account for the majority of upcoming bond maturities at 85%,” said Ralph Ng, Moody’s Vice President and Senior Analyst.

“These companies have predictable cash flows, own essential infrastructure assets and have faced limited coronavirus impact – all of which appeal to investors and underpin the overall credit quality of our Asian infrastructure and project finance portfolio.”

The airport sector remains exposed to coronavirus disruptions, but only represents 0.3 per cent of bond maturities through 2023.

As per the report, Airport operators represent less than 1 per cent of upcoming maturities.

Airport operators’ revenue has deteriorated significantly as a result of coronavirus disruptions. This has been reflected in the current negative outlook for some rated issuers.

That said, Moody’s said, airport companies in Asia generally have government ownership and benefit from government support to mitigate potential refinancing difficulties.

Meanwhile, refinancing risk for speculative-grade issuers is also manageable, as they represent only 4 per cent of maturities and the largest contributor – Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (Ba1 stable) – benefits from liquidity support from banks and the Japanese government.

China continues to represent a sizeable portion of the portfolio, accounting for 49 per cent of total outstanding bonds and 66 per cent of upcoming maturities through 2023 – reflecting the massive scale of Chinese utilities.