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'Metrocable' Aerial Tramways Part of Medellin's 'Metro' Public Transit System 'Metrocable' Aerial Tramways Part of Medellin's 'Metro' Public Transit System Source: Metro de Medellin

Fitch Awards Highest ‘AAA’ Debt Rating for Medellin’s ‘Metro’ Transit System

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Medellin’s “Metro” public transit agency announced July 9 that Wall Street bond rater Fitch just upgraded Metro’s long-term debt rating to “AAA (col)” from “AA + (col)” while the short-term rating remains at a relatively strong “F1 + (col).”

“In both cases, these are the highest ratings that [Fitch] gives to Colombian companies,” according to Metro, which operates a mainly electric-powered railcar, aerial-tram and surface-tram system, as well as a natural-gas-fueled bus rapid transit (BRT) system in the Medellin metropolitan area.

The ratings indicate that “Medellín Metro has been characterized by solid management and administration,” supported by “income legitimacy, operational risk, financial profile and asymmetric added risk,” according to the agency.

“In the case of the long-term rating, Fitch Ratings raised the rating to 'AAA (col)' from 'AA + (col)' with a stable outlook, which is assigned to issuers or obligations with the lowest expectation of default risk in relation to all other issuers or obligations in the same country. The outlook indicates that it is unlikely that the rating will change in a period of between one and two years.

“In the case of the short-term rating, Fitch affirmed the 'F1 + (col)' rating it had given in its previous review, also with a stable outlook, which is assigned to the lowest default risk in relation to others in the same country. When a + sign is added, as in the case of the Medellín Metro, this indicates that the liquidity profile is particularly strong.

“The legitimacy of revenues refers to the capacity to increase them and the competitive position in the sector, a factor that was considered strong due to the existence of a strategic objective that establishes that by 2020, 10% of revenues must come from different sources to the rate.

“Operational risk is considered as a factor in the medium range because Metro adequately identifies its costs, which allows it to have a certain degree of flexibility for [containing] them.

“Regarding the financial profile, this is considered as a strong range since the EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization] generation is robust and its margins, although they show the start-up of greater services, remain relatively stable. Likewise, the liquidity position is good due to the existence of adequate levels of cash and liquid investments of free destination. Finally, Fitch highlights the conservative management of investment portfolios, which have a low risk profile,” Metro added.

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