Panama Canal Railway Co assigned 'BB' rating


BANGALORE, Oct. 29, 2007 (Thomson Financial delivered by Newstex) -- Standard & Poor's (NYSE:MHP) Ratings Services said it has assigned its 'BB' long-term corporate credit rating to the Panama Canal Railway Co (PCRC) reflecting PCRC's aggressive financial profile, particularly its leveraged capital structure.

The ratings agency also assigned a 'BB' rating to the company's proposed 100 mln usd senior secured notes due 2026.

S&P said the outlook is stable reflecting the expectation that PCRC's funds from operations-to-total debt will be around 17 pct by 2009, and that the company will maintain its adequate liquidity position.

Downward ratings pressure could come from the loss of shipping throughput that pressures PCRC's earnings and margins, or through higher-than-expected capital-management initiatives, the ratings agency said.

S&P said it expects the company to maintain a leveraged capital structure in the long run given its strategy of periodically expanding container transportation capacity.