S&P cuts Auckland Airport outlook

02:19, Dec 03 2013

Auckland International Airport's credit rating outlook has been lowered from positive to stable by ratings agency Standard & Poor's.

Standard & Poor's credit analyst Thomas Jacquot said the outlook revision was because of the airport's plan to return $454 million in capital to shareholders, which would be largely funded by debt.

"The increase in debt will drive a relative weakening of the key financial metrics over the short term, in relation to our prior expectations, although this deterioration is not severe enough to result in the ratings being under downward pressure," he said.

Despite the outlook revision, Standard & Poor's affirmed the airport's long-term credit rating of A minus.

Jacquot said it was unlikely the company's credit rating would improve in the next two years.

The agency said it believed the airport would maintain its "excellent business-risk profile".

However, the airport's rating could come under pressure if it increased its expected capital-expenditure programme in the next two to three years, which would result in higher debt levels.

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Fairfax Media