S&P gives DFW Airport's debt an 'A+' rating

Standard & Poor's rates DFW Airport new and old bonds at 'A+' a week after Fitch downgrade

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Standard & Poor's is giving "A+" ratings to new and existing bonds issued by Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport less than a week after Fitch Ratings downgraded the debt.

S&P said Tuesday that it applied the "A+" rating to a $369.4 million revenue bond issue and reiterated the same for existing bonds.

Analyst Todd Spence wrote that the ratings "reflect our view of the airport's solid business position," including good location, capacity, financial resources, local economy and experienced management.

Last week Fitch downgraded $4.7 billion in previous DFW bonds to "A'' from "A+" and gave an "A'' rating to $736 million in new bonds. It cited heavy borrowing to finance a $4.2 billion refurbishment program, which will leave DFW with more than $6 billion in debt.

The airport's chief financial officer, Chris Poinsatte, said after the Fitch downgrade that DFW has excellent liquidity and its bonds "have been very well received by investors in the past year and we expect that the bonds will price well in the coming year."

Both S&P and Fitch have scales with grades of "AA" and "AAA" that are higher than "A." Bonds of "BBB" or higher are considered investment grade.

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