March 1 () - -- Charlotte, N.C.-based Piedmont Natural Gas Co. Inc. is launching a $650 million commercial paper program.
-- We are assigning our 'A-1' short-term rating to the program and our 'A-1' short-term corporate credit rating.
-- According to Standard & Poor's rating criteria, our 'A' corporate credit rating on Piedmont maps to a commercial paper rating of 'A-1'.
March 1 - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today assigned its 'A-1' short-term rating to Piedmont Natural Gas Co. Inc.'s $650 million commercial paper program. At the same time, we are assigning an 'A-1' short-term corporate credit rating. According to Standard & Poor's corporate criteria, our 'A' corporate credit rating on Piedmont maps to a ommercial paper rating of 'A-1'. The company expects to use the short-term program for general corporate purposes. The program will be 100% backstopped by Piedmont's $650 million revolving credit facility expiring January 2014. The rating on Piedmont reflects an "excellent" business risk profile and an "intermediate" financial risk profile (as our criteria define the terms). Piedmont's regulated businesses contributed about 85% of fiscal 2011 consolidated cash flows. We consider Piedmont's liquidity as "adequate" under our corporate liquidity methodology. As of Oct. 31, 2011, Piedmont had about $1 billion of total reported debt. RATING LIST Short-Term Corporate Credit Rating Assigned
To From Piedmont Natural Gas Co. Inc. Corporate Credit Rating A/Stable/A-1 A/Stable/-- Senior Unsecured A A Commercial Paper Rating Assigned Piedmont Natural Gas Co. Inc. Commercial Paper A-1 RELATED CRITERIA AND RESEARCH
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-- U.S. Regulated Natural Gas Utilities, Strongest To Weakest, Jan. 11, 2012 Complete ratings information is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal at www.globalcreditportal.com. All ratings affected by this rating action can be found on Standard & Poor's public Web site at www.standardandpoors.com. Use the Ratings search box located in the left column. (New York Ratings Team)