By: DOTT JOSE on Lunedì 16 Dicembre 2002 17:25
4 su 10 si beccherano un downgrade..
pero almeno chi sopravvive..dovra nadre bene in borsa.
Debt crunch expected for U.S. power sector-WSJ
NEW YORK, Dec 16 (Reuters) - A debt crisis will dominate the U.S. power sector in 2003 and could last well in to 2004, according to an analysis by Fitch Ratings expected to be released Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
With more than $25 billion of debt coming due next year and an inhospitable lending environment, the credit-rating agency said nearly 40 percent of the utility-holding companies and half of the merchant generators it rates face possible ratings downgrades, the article said.
Companies that specialize in the sale of wholesale energy are coping by stretching out debt maturities, retaining the assets they can manage, shedding the rest and hoping they will stay afloat long enough for energy demand and prices to strengthen.
As if to underscore the dismal projection, PG&E Corp (NYSE:PCG - News), of San Francisco, said lenders are giving its development unit, National Energy Group Inc., enough money to finish two giant power projects -- but the banks then will take possession of the plants by June, the newspaper reported.
National Energy Group defaulted on $421 million of obligations on Nov. 14, setting in motion cross-defaults, including $605 million for plants in California and Connecticut. Total defaults by NEG total $2.7 billion.
According to the report, Fitch said the situation is especially difficult for firms with large sums of debt coming due in the next two years and specifically cited Reliant Resources Inc. (NYSE:RRI - News), of Houston; Dynegy Inc. (NYSE:DYN - News) also in Houston; Aquila Inc (NYSE:ILA - News)., of Kansas City; Mirant Corp. (NYSE:MIR - News) in Atlanta; and Calpine Corp. (NYSE:CPN - News) of San Jose, California.
Moody's Investors Service on Friday cut its long-term credit rating on Texas utility TXU Corp. (NYSE:TXU - News) to "junk" status, but said the liquidity at the company is "reasonable."