November 15, 2002–Aquila, Inc.announced today that Fitch Ratings has lowered the company’s credit rating to non-investment grade with a negative outlook. With liquidity of $897 million, Aquila is prepared to respond to the potential effects resulting from today’s downgrade.
“We’re naturally disappointed by Fitch’s decision,” said Richard C. Green, Jr., Aquila’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, “but we’ve already been operating more than two months with a prior non-investment grade rating. We’re well prepared to meet any additional cash requirements that may result from this latest credit action.”
In an effort to improve its balance sheet and credit ratings, in this year’s second quarter Aquila targeted the sale of approximately $1 billion in non-strategic assets. To date, the company has closed asset sale transactions totaling $796.6 million. Another sale for $180 million is pending, and Aquila is also in the process of taking bids for its 79.9 percent interest in Midlands Electricity, a utility in the United Kingdom.
Based in Kansas City, Missouri, Aquila operates electricity and natural gas distribution networks serving customers in seven states and in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The company also owns and operates power generation assets. At September 30, 2002, Aquila had total assets of $10.7 billion. More information is available at www.aquila.com.