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Infrastructure & Project Finance

Global Home > Infrastructure & Project Finance

Fitch Ratings Defines Coronavirus Scenarios

The coronavirus pandemic represents a significant challenge to both the global economy and, in particular, the following industries:

Scenarios for U.S. Airports Portfolio
Airlines have taken capacity reduction actions while governments have restricted or strictly controlled travel movements at unprecedented levels. Read more

Scenarios for U.S. Toll Roads
State and local governments across the U.S. have begun issuing orders for residents to self-quarantine. Read more

Scenarios for North American Ports Portfolio
Coronavirus is having sizable and wide-ranging effects on the port space. Read more

Global Economic Outlook

Coronavirus Crisis Is Crushing Global GDP Growth

The coronavirus crisis is crushing global GDP growth according to Fitch Ratings in its latest quarterly "Global Economic Outlook" (GEO)."The level of world GDP is falling. For all intents and purposes we are in global recession territory," said Brian Coulton, chief economist at Fitch Ratings. We have nearly halved the Fitch baseline global growth forecast for 2020 - to just 1.3% from 2.5% in the December 2019 GEO. The revision leaves 2020 global GDP USD850 billion lower than in the previous forecast. 
 

Related Report: Global Economic Outlook

More on Coronavirus

Fitch Ratings Reviewing Infrastructure Issuers for Coronavirus Vulnerability

The coronavirus pandemic represents a significant challenge to the global economy, and therefore, to the performance of transactions in the infrastructure and project finance space. The wide range of transactions, from enterprise to project structures, single-assets to multi-asset, demand-based to contracted, and single jurisdiction to multi-jurisdiction provide for a wide variety of potential impacts.

Federal Coronavirus Aid Key Short-Term Boost to US States

The federal government is funneling billions of dollars to US states to offset the growing implications of the coronavirus but the scope of states’ fiscal pressures and the ultimate effect on ratings is uncertain, says Fitch Ratings. 

Coronavirus Poses Risk to US University Operations, Enrollment

US colleges and universities may experience operating and enrollment pressures as the spread of COVID-19 leads to campus shutdowns. Most universities have a risk management plan in place to address infectious outbreaks. Institutions with limited liquidity and heavy dependence on tuition revenues are more susceptible to operating risks and small shifts in enrollment.

Oil Price Plunge to Pressure US Energy States & Locals

The sharp decline in oil and natural gas prices will reduce economic output and revenues in US states, cities, counties, and single-purpose districts with significant energy sector exposure. Governments’ vulnerabilities to these fiscal pressures will be compounded by the broader economic pressures caused by the coronavirus outbreak and related containment efforts, although the situation is evolving rapidly.

Coronavirus Curbs Will Pressure US Sports Facility Revenues

Sporting event postponements, cancellations and/or reduced attendance in the US as a result of coronavirus concerns will lead to revenue and profitability declines and a drain on liquidity at affected stadiums, arenas and facilities. League-level ratings, including the NBA’s ‘A-’ with a Stable Outlook, are supported by longer-term media rights contracts.

Updated Hwy Trust Fund Projections Show Need for Funding Fix

Recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections for insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) accounts in 2021 and 2022 reinforce the need for restructuring the funding of the HTF. The HTF relies on general fund transfers to remain solvent, and uncertainty over funding levels and extensions weakens the program.

Canadian Port Traffic Vulnerable to Rail Blockades

Rail disruptions related to ongoing protests in Canada will have a negative, albeit temporary, effect on port operations, says Fitch Ratings. Ports located further from destination markets and with greater reliance on rail will be more affected, including Halifax, Prince Rupert and Vancouver. Slowing port traffic has led to reduced or no storage capacity at several key ports.

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ESG Monthly

Our new ESG monthly newsletter includes our global ESG perspectives across all rated sectors and countries, with commentary covering our views on ESG credit risk and the broader macro trends in ESG and the debt capital markets. 

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Fitch Ratings Appoints New EMEA & North America Infrastructure Heads

Fitch Ratings is pleased to announce Danilo Quattromani as its new head of EMEA. Based in Milan, Quattromani will report to Cherian George, the head of Global Infrastructure and Project Finance. Concurrently, Fitch has appointed Scott Zuchorski as its new head for North America. Zuchorski will continue to report to George in his expanded role.
 

Coronavirus Disrupts Sports Events, Affects Stadiums' Revenue

The novel coronavirus has led to postponements or cancellations of various sports events, primarily in APAC, which will put pressure on affected stadiums' revenues. We expect the impact on the Fitch-rated portfolio of stadium transactions to be limited as many of them have sufficient liquidity reserves to absorb short-term revenue disruptions, but much will depend on the authorities' ability to control and contain the virus.

Rating Action

Fitch Downgrades Miami-Dade Co Expressway Auth (FL)'s Sr Revs to 'BBB+'; Outlook Negative

Fitch Ratings has downgraded Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority, FL's (MDX) $1.3 billion of outstanding revenue and refunding bonds to 'BBB+' from 'A-'. The Negative Rating Watch has been revised to a Negative Rating Outlook.

Rating Action

Fitch Places DP World Plc on Rating Watch Negative

Fitch Ratings has placed UAE-headquartered ports and logistics operator DP World PLC's Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of 'BBB+' and Short Term IDR of 'F1' on Rating Watch Negative (RWN). A full list of rating actions is at the end of this rating action commentary.

Growing US Infrastructure Deficit Necessitates a New Paradigm

Any government plan for renewing and advancing essential US infrastructure requires a new paradigm to adequately address the infrastructure funding deficit, says. While a source of adequate and sustainable funding is a critical component, a results-oriented, objective and strategic approach to investment, along with responsible stewardship of the public purse, are paramount.

Global Ports Vulnerable to Coronavirus-Related Volume Declines

Global ports will see reduced trade volumes as a result of the coronavirus, COVID-19, which would become more severe should Chinese production take time to recover to pre-epidemic levels.

Related:

 

More on the Coronavirus

Bondfield Default Highlights Project Completion Contractor Risk

The default of a private project contractor for a number of large Design-Build Finance (DBF) social public-private partnership (P3s) projects in Canada highlights the need for robust risk assessment and efficient risk allocation.

Driverless Cars Largely a Plus for Toll Roads; Managed Lanes Vulnerable

Though likely over a decade away from widespread usage, automated vehicles (AVs) will have a transformative effect on travel and traffic patterns for toll roads, according to Fitch Ratings.

Read Full ReportThe Effect of Automated Vehicles on Toll Roads

webinar

Global Infrastructure Completion Risk – New Criteria Exposure Draft

Webinar On-Demand

Join us for a discussion of Fitch's new standalone Completion Risk criteria.

Listen Now

Indonesian Government-Related Entities' Leverage to Continue to Rise

Indonesian government-related entities' (GRE) leverage is likely to keep rising in the next few years due to their role in executing the government's infrastructure development plans, their own capacity expansions, and mergers and acquisitions.

Global Infrastructure Completion Risk Rating Criteria

Completion continues to pose a significant risk with numerous infrastructure projects experiencing delays, cost overruns, and termination as result of challenges during the construction phase. Learn more about our completion risk rating criteria, related reports, and our upcoming webinar.

Rating Action

Fitch Rates Montreal Gateway Terminals 'BBB'; Outlook Stable

This is Fitch's first public rating on a North American container terminal and its first port rating in Canada, which underscores Fitch’s growing presence in the Canadian market. MGT is the largest of two container terminal operators at the Port of Montreal (PMO). The PMO is Canada’s second largest port and credit strengths include its unique market position in serving strong, captive markets in Ontario and Quebec.

Outlooks 2020

Financing Evolving for North American Energy Infrastructure in 2020

The evolution in financing for energy infrastructure projects will continue into next year. Fitch is maintaining its stable outlook for North American Energy Infrastructure with most project financings reflecting fixed-price off-take agreements that minimize revenue and margin volatility.

Releated ReportNorth American Energy Infrastructure

Outlooks 2020

U.S. Transportation Infrastructure Growth to Mirror Slower GDP in 2020

Volume growth remains favorable for U.S. airports, ports and toll roads and will remain largely tethered to U.S. GDP movement, which Fitch projects will fall below 2% for 2020. That said, "Some softness in growth may take hold to the extent issuers are exposed to global economic markets and protectionist trade policies," said Senior Director Scott Zuchorski.

Outlooks 2020

Latam 2020 Infrastructure Outlook Stable

Latin American Infrastructure credits will enter 2020 with the region expecting a mild recovery and seven of its 19 rated sovereigns in Negative Outlook. Discontent centered on economic issues is rising, along with political risk, according to a new Fitch Ratings report.

Webinar

Global Shipping and Ports – 2020 Outlook

In this webinar, attendees discussed the Fitch Ratings outlook for Global Shipping and Ports with our Transportation and Infrastructure Analysts. Topics included: 

  • Capacity growth levels and the supply/demand balance
  • U.S. and China trade tariffs and their impact on global trade
  • IMO 2020 regulation coming into effect on Jan 1

Listen Now

Cordon Pricing May Boost US City Public Transit Usage, Revenue

Well-designed cordon pricing (CP) has the potential to reduce traffic and raise revenue for highly congested US cites, which can help fund public transit. CP is effective at quickly and materially reducing congestion and vehicle trips, while increasing transit usage, as shown in several European cities using CP. However, CP in isolation may not meet public policy goals unless there is substantial investment in a region's transit system.

Outlooks 2020

EMEA Renewable Energy: 2020 Outlooks

The sector outlook reflects a stable regulatory environment and continuing cost declines. European countries are now looking towards the ambitious target of achieving a 32% share of renewable energies in gross final energy consumption by 2030. The sector is maturing, and industry consolidation and technology improvements are positive for it.
 

Managed Lanes Performance Strong but Untested in Recession

Performance among Fitch-rated managed lanes (MLs) is strong with fiscal YTD 2019 total revenue rising by a median of 21%. This is in line with a longer trend of robust ML performance. Growth is supported by accommodative economic conditions, low gas prices, and solid population and generally higher growth in regions with MLs.

Webinar On Demand

Nashville Airport Subordinate Airport Revenue Bond Series 2019A&B

Fitch hosted a webinar to discuss our new rating of Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority. Please join Scott Zuchorski, Seth Lehman, and Jeffrey Lack for a discussion of the airport, our rating, and our thought process.

 

Register Now

Increased NFL Viewership Reinforces League Strength

After viewership declines during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, the rebound in National Football League (NFL) audience numbers that began in 2018 and continues into 2019 reinforces the value of the franchise to broadcasters, says Fitch Ratings.

Shape of Next US Economic Cycle Will Inform USPF Macro Stress

The federal government's two primary tools to stimulate the economy, fiscal and monetary policy, may be constrained relative to previous cycles, potentially exacerbating cyclical US public finance (USPF) funding deficits and delaying the rebuilding of issuer reserves during and coming out of the next downturn. More limited possibilities for aggressive macro policy easing could culminate in a slower path of recovery after any future recession.

Performance Still Turbulence Free for U.S. Airports

Various broader market developments have not had an effect thus far on performance for U.S. airports, according to Fitch Ratings in its latest annual peer review for the sector.  Positive rating activity has remained largely on pace for U.S. airports year over year with Fitch upgrading nine ratings for seven airports against no rating downgrades.

Webinar

Reducing Aviation CO2 Emissions - Winners and Losers

Please listen to a webinar where we discussed the impact on airlines, airports and rail sectors of reducing aviation net CO2 emissions.

 

Listen Now

Webinar and Interactive Tool

North American Project Finance: Lessons Learned

Fitch Ratings’ Infrastructure analytical team has published a report and interactive tool outlining the lessons we’ve learned covering various North American P3 projects.


You can listen to Fitch’s on-demand webinar on the subject here. The full report is downloadable from the webinar platform.
 

View the Interactive Tool

 

Lower Traffic Growth to Cut Emissions May Disrupt Airline Sector

Targeted reductions in net CO2 emissions in aviation are not achievable without a combination of prudent management of air traffic growth and financially demanding regulation. Government policies that could curb air travel and incentivise alternative choices could disrupt the aviation sector and may have credit implications, but this is unlikely to happen in the short to medium term.

North American Infrastructure Projects Are Complex, Require Unique Solutions

North American Infrastructure projects are complex undertakings that require careful coordination among multiple parties to adequately address risks and avoid delays, according to Fitch Ratings in a new report.

P3s Can Fund Higher Ed Projects While Preserving Balance Sheets

Public private partnerships (P3s) can help fill infrastructure funding gaps for colleges and universities, says Fitch Ratings. In the face of flat or reduced state funding, public universities in particular will need to find other sources of funding to address aging infrastructure and ongoing capital needs.

No Cali Blackout Near-Term Effect on Infrastructure, Municipals

Blackouts in California as a precaution against conditions conducive to wildfires do not have an immediate effect on infrastructure or municipal credit.

Growth Likely to Level Off for U.S. Transportation

Growth prospects remain healthy for all three major U.S. transportation segments heading into next year, though the trajectory figures to level off somewhat according to Fitch Ratings in its latest annual report.

Fitch Ratings Launches ESG Heat Map for Public Finance/Infrastructure

Fitch Ratings has launched an ESG 'heat map' for Public Finance/Infrastructure to provide further insight into the relevance of ESG factors to credit ratings. The map is designed to help users understand how relevant individual ESG topics are to credit ratings for different sub-sectors across Global Public Finance, Infrastructure and Project Finance issuers.

Special Report

U.S. Fiscal Weakening Could Hit Public Finance, Financial Credits

Low borrowing costs have helped to temper political concerns over rising federal deficits and debt in recent years. However, Fitch Ratings believes that public finances could emerge as a greater issue for U.S. policymakers if borrowing costs rise or if the deficit increases sharply during a future downturn.
 

Full ReportThe Coming Storm: Effects of U.S. Fiscal Deterioration on Key Sectors

Pre-Recession Peak Enplanements Not Just for Large U.S. Airports Anymore

Enplanement levels for U.S. airports are now at their highest in over a decade, though the improvement is more striking for smaller hubs that had tougher hills to climb following the recession according to Fitch Ratings in a new report. Still unknown however, is if this improvement is sustainable for smaller airports in the longer term.

Toll Road Traffic Recovery Paths Diverge for Portugal and Italy

Italian recovery lags behind and its toll roads traffic is still 2% below the 2007 levels, even though it had a milder trough of about 10%.

Great Hall Termination Will Not Hit DIA or Project's Rating

The announced termination of the Great Hall public-private partnership terminal redevelopment project at Denver International Airport (DIA) will not adversely affect either the airport's ratings or those tied to the project itself, according to Fitch Ratings.

SNC Pulling out of PPPs Symptom of Completion Risk Challenges

The recent decision by SNC-Lavalin (SNC) to withdraw from bidding on a number of high-profile Public-Private Partnership projects (PPP or P3) highlights Fitch Ratings' view that the market for PPPs has become increasingly competitive and that project completion is one of the most significant risks to a project. 
 

Webinar on Demand

ESG Relevance Scores - Webinar and What Investors Want to Know

Fitch has just published a "What Investors Want to Know" report about our ESG scores and methodologies based on questions received from investors. Please click the link below to watch our on-demand webinar on our ESG methodology in US Public Finance, and Infrastructure and Project Finance.  Listen Now

Lower Renewable Capital Costs to Spur EU-US Deployment Race

Falling capital costs have made renewables competitive with other energy sources and should accelerate the pace of renewable adoption in both the EU and US. The EU has one of the world's highest shares of non-hydro renewables in its electricity generation mix, twice as high as the US's. The EU's consistent regulatory drive to grow renewable energy and the cheap and abundant natural gas in the US that competes with renewables are the main factors behind the different penetration.

Fitch Rates Sirius Minerals' HY Notes 'B(EXP)'; Outlook Stable

Fitch Ratings has assigned Sirius Minerals Plc's proposed USD500 million high yield bond issue an expected rating of 'B(EXP)' with a Stable Outlook The final rating is contingent on the receipt of final documents materially conforming to information already received. The expected rating reflects the mining project's complex and large-scale construction works, the lack of fixed-price date-certain construction contracts and a reliance on key contractors due to the application of bespoke technology. 

APAC Ports' Tight Rating Range Show Qualitative Factors Are Key

The ports in the Asia-Pacific rated by Fitch Ratings carry ratings of either 'BBB-' or 'BBB', but their leverage varies greatly from 2.9x to 10.2x, underscoring the importance of qualitative factors in assigning the ratings.

Unique Feature Helps "Trap" Risk for Canadian PPPs

Canadian public private partnerships (PPPs) are susceptible to cost overruns like other PPPs throughout the world, though a new Fitch Ratings report cites a unique feature commonly seen in Canadian projects that protects lenders by helping to offset some of that risk.

Declining Costs and Increased Demand Set Solar-Plus-Storage Up for Expansion

Solar-plus-storage projects appear poised for a dramatic expansion against a backdrop of rapidly declining battery costs and an increasing need for grid management solutions as renewables become ubiquitous in the dispatch stack

3D Printing May Disrupt Ports and Reduce US Imports from China

3DP could reduce global trade, including reducing US imports from China by 10%-25%. Short- and medium-term risks are limited due to a still emerging technology uptake.

U.S. Managed Lanes Speeding Past Projections

Performance is exceeding projections for eight managed lanes that are currently up and running, according to Fitch Ratings in its latest peer review for U.S. managed lane projects.

Webinar

ESG Relevance Scores for US Public Finance, and Infrastructure and Project Finance

Now Available On-Demand
 

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors are increasingly important for investment decisions, which is why Fitch has introduced ESG relevance scores to show relevance and materiality of ESG to ratings.

 

Speakers:

Laura Porter Managing Director, US Public Finance (Moderator)

Andrew Steel Managing Director, Sustainable Finance

Sara AnzingerDirector, Sustainable Finance

Michael RinaldiSenior Director, US Public Finance

Scott Zuchorski – Managing Director, US Infrastructure and Project Finance

Glaucia Calp – Managing Director, LATAM Infrastructure and Project Finance
 

Listen Now

Introducing ESG Relevance Scores for Public Finance and Infrastructure

ESG factors generally have a low level of direct impact on public finance and infrastructure credit ratings. However, governance is the most influential ESG risk factor across the overall ratings portfolio. This was driven by public finance issuers, which is not surprising given that factors such as political stability, creditor rights, financial transparency, governance structure, government independence and control of corruption are important considerations in our credit rating process. 
 

DownloadOur ESG Relevance Scores
Watch VideoIntroducing ESG Relevance Scores - An Update for Public Finance and Infrastructure

UK Transport Infrastructure Could Manage Short-Term No-Deal Disruption

Rated UK transport infrastructure issuers are generally well placed to weather short-term disruption in traffic and trade flows in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit, Fitch Ratings says, thanks to their robust liquidity positions and financial flexibility.

 

Audio Summary: 5 minute listen
Listen Now

Fitch Named Best Rating Agency in APAC in Record 5 Categories

Fitch has won the Credit Rating Agency of the Year (2018) awards for the corporate, investment-grade, public-finance, project-finance and sovereign categories. It is the agency's first award for the investment-grade category, and the fourth consecutive win for public finance.

Contacts

Global

Laura Porter

Analytical Group Head

+1 212 908 0575

Global

Cherian George

Global Sector Head

+1 212 908 0519

Global

Ann Flynn

Business Group Head

+1 212 908 9152

APAC

Sajal Kishore

Analytical

+65 6796 7095

APAC

Amit Ganju

Business

+65 6796 7201

EMEA

Michael Androsov

Business

+44 203 530 1096

LATAM

Glaucia Calp

Analytical

+57 1 326 9999

LATAM

Samuel Fox

Business

+1 312 606 2307

North America

Scott Zuchorski

North America Analytical

(1) 212 908 0659x1659

North America

Saavan Gatfield

Business

+ 1 212 908 0542

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