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23.11.2012 16:24

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Capital Hospitals (Issuer) plc -- Moody's upgrades the ratings of Capital Hospitals (Issuer) plc to Baa2

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Madrid, November 23, 2012 -- Moody's Investors Service has today upgraded to Baa2 from Baa3 the underlying ratings on (1) the GBP1.02 billion of 1.703% index-linked guaranteed secured bonds due 2046 issued by Capital Hospitals (Issuer) plc (the "Issuer"), and (2) the GBP250 million of index-linked guaranteed secured loans due 2041 provided to the Issuer by the European Investment Bank (EIB). The rating outlook remains stable.

The bond amount includes GBP185 million of variation bonds and GBP90 million of construction inflation variation bonds, issued but not sold at financial close.

The Issuer is a financing conduit formed in 2006 to raise finance and on-lend it to Capital Hospitals Ltd ("ProjectCo"). In accordance with a 42-year contract signed with Barts Health NHS Trust (the "Trust", and previously Barts and the London NHS Trust), ProjectCo has assumed obligations to design, build and maintain new acute general hospitals on two sites, comprising The Royal Hospital of St Bartholomew ("Barts") and The Royal London Hospital (the "Royal London"), together with supporting infrastructure and amenities, and to undertake some refurbishment of existing buildings (taken together, "the Project"). ProjectCo will also provide facilities management (FM) services at the hospitals.

RATINGS RATIONALE

"Today's upgrade reflects the significant progress and de-risking of the construction works, which are now approximately 83% complete by contract value and include the successful delivery of Phase 1 of Barts and the Royal London," says Declan O'Brien, an Analyst in Moody's Infrastructure Finance Group. "Furthermore, the upgrade reflects that the Issuer has been successfully delivering facilities management services on the Project since 2006," adds Mr. O' Brien.

Moody's considers the delivery and commissioning of Phase 1 of the Royal London to be a significant factor driving the upgrade. Risks faced by ProjectCo are now materially reduced as a result of the delivery of Phase 1, which triggered a step-up to approximately 67% of the steady-state service payment. The technical advisor, Faithful and Gould, opines that the remaining works are straightforward and that there are a number of replacement contractors capable of completing the works in the absence of Skanska Major Projects (SMP), the main construction contractor for the Project.

Risks mitigated as a result of the delivery of Phase 1 include ProjectCo's high exposure at financial close to (1) SMP as provider of a fixed-price construction contract with a liability cap of 50% of the contract value (SMP's obligations are guaranteed by Skanska AB); (2) the size of the Project and the risk of replacing SMP with sufficiently experienced and capable contractors during the construction phase; and (3) potential delays in construction and, hence, revenues.

The Baa2 underlying rating of the bonds and the EIB loans positively reflects (1) ProjectCo's long-term Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract with the Trust to redevelop and then provide FM services to the Royal London and Barts hospitals; (2) the strength of the Trust; (3) the successful certification of approximately 83% of construction works, including the satisfactory delivery of Phase 1; (4) the strong construction support package provided by SMP and supported by a performance bond of 10%, relative to remaining construction value (while Moody's does not rate Skanska AB, the rating agency considers the company's credit quality to be robust); and (5) the satisfactory performance of hard and soft FM to date. However, the ratings are constrained by the remaining construction works, amounting to approximately GBP180 million, which will be completed over a three-year period.

The stable outlook on the ratings reflects the construction progress and satisfactory service performance to date. While the remaining construction works should be straightforward, Moody's notes that next major step-up in unitary charge occurs upon the completion of Phase 2 at Barts which is not expected to occur before September 2014.

Both the bonds and the EIB loans benefit from the unconditional and irrevocable guarantees of scheduled principal and interest from Assured Guaranty (Europe) Ltd. and Ambac Assurance UK Limited (a subsidiary of Ambac Financial Group, Inc., "Ambac"),, respectively. The underlying rating of Baa2 reflects the credit risk of the bonds and EIB loans, absent the benefit of the respective guarantees. The ratings are determined as the higher of the underlying rating and the guarantor's rating. As at 23 November 2012, Assured Guaranty's insurance financial strength rating was Aa3 on review for downgrade and accordingly the ratings for the Assured Guaranty-wrapped debt obligations are Aa3. As Ambac's insurance financial strength and senior debt ratings were withdrawn on 7 April 2011, the ratings for the Ambac-wrapped debt obligations are Baa2, in line with the underlying rating.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

Moody's could consider upgrading the ratings if ProjectCo (1) successfully reaches the completion of Phase 2 at both hospitals on time and budget; and (2) continues to deliver satisfactory service performance.

Conversely, Moody's could consider downgrading the ratings if (1) there was a material decline in Skanska AB's credit quality or its commitment to the Project; or (2) the Project suffered a material delay, cost overrun, revenue shortfall or performance failure that could not easily be accommodated within the available contractual protections.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in this rating was Construction Risk in Privately-Financed Public Infrastructure (PFI/PPP/P3) Projects published in December 2007. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides relevant regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides relevant regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides relevant regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

The rating has been disclosed to the rated entity or its designated agent(s) and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

Information sources used to prepare the rating are the following: parties involved in the ratings, parties not involved in the ratings, public information, and confidential and proprietary Moody's Investors Service information.

Moody's considers the quality of information available on the rated entity, obligation or credit satisfactory for the purposes of issuing a rating.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a rating is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, Moody's is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Moody's Investors Service may have provided Ancillary or Other Permissible Service(s) to the rated entity or its related third parties within the two years preceding the credit rating action. Please see the special report "Ancillary or other permissible services provided to entities rated by MIS's EU credit rating agencies" on the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

Please see the ratings disclosure page on www.moodys.com for general disclosure on potential conflicts of interests.

Please see the ratings disclosure page on www.moodys.com for information on (A) MCO's major shareholders (above 5%) and for (B) further information regarding certain affiliations that may exist between directors of MCO and rated entities as well as (C) the names of entities that hold ratings from MIS that have also publicly reported to the SEC an ownership interest in MCO of more than 5%. A member of the board of directors of this rated entity may also be a member of the board of directors of a shareholder of Moody's Corporation; however, Moody's has not independently verified this matter.

Please see Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions on the Rating Process page on www.moodys.com for further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history.

The date on which some ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Declan O'Brien Analyst Infrastructure Finance Moody's Investors Service Espana, S.A. Calle Principe de Vergara, 131, 6 Planta Madrid 28002 Spain JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456 SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454 Neil Griffiths-Lambeth Senior Vice President Infrastructure Finance JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456 SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454 Releasing Office: Moody's Investors Service Espana, S.A. Calle Principe de Vergara, 131, 6 Planta Madrid 28002 Spain JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456 SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454 (C) 2012 Moody's Investors Service, Inc. and/or its licensors and affiliates (collectively, "MOODY'S"). All rights reserved.

CREDIT RATINGS ISSUED BY MOODY'S INVESTORS SERVICE, INC. ("MIS") AND ITS AFFILIATES ARE MOODY'S CURRENT OPINIONS OF THE RELATIVE FUTURE CREDIT RISK OF ENTITIES, CREDIT COMMITMENTS, OR DEBT OR DEBT-LIKE SECURITIES, AND CREDIT RATINGS AND RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS PUBLISHED BY MOODY'S ("MOODY'S PUBLICATIONS") MAY INCLUDE MOODY'S CURRENT OPINIONS OF THE RELATIVE FUTURE CREDIT RISK OF ENTITIES, CREDIT COMMITMENTS, OR DEBT OR DEBT-LIKE SECURITIES. MOODY'S DEFINES CREDIT RISK AS THE RISK THAT AN ENTITY MAY NOT MEET ITS CONTRACTUAL, FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS AS THEY COME DUE AND ANY ESTIMATED FINANCIAL LOSS IN THE EVENT OF DEFAULT. CREDIT RATINGS DO NOT ADDRESS ANY OTHER RISK, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: LIQUIDITY RISK, MARKET VALUE RISK, OR PRICE VOLATILITY. CREDIT RATINGS AND MOODY'S OPINIONS INCLUDED IN MOODY'S PUBLICATIONS ARE NOT STATEMENTS OF CURRENT OR HISTORICAL FACT. CREDIT RATINGS AND MOODY'S PUBLICATIONS DO NOT CONSTITUTE OR PROVIDE INVESTMENT OR FINANCIAL ADVICE, AND CREDIT RATINGS AND MOODY'S PUBLICATIONS ARE NOT AND DO NOT PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS TO PURCHASE, SELL, OR HOLD PARTICULAR SECURITIES. NEITHER CREDIT RATINGS NOR MOODY'S PUBLICATIONS COMMENT ON THE SUITABILITY OF AN INVESTMENT FOR ANY PARTICULAR INVESTOR. MOODY'S ISSUES ITS CREDIT RATINGS AND PUBLISHES MOODY'S PUBLICATIONS WITH THE EXPECTATION AND UNDERSTANDING THAT EACH INVESTOR WILL MAKE ITS OWN STUDY AND EVALUATION OF EACH SECURITY THAT IS UNDER CONSIDERATION FOR PURCHASE, HOLDING, OR SALE.

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NO WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE ACCURACY, TIMELINESS, COMPLETENESS, MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE OF ANY SUCH RATING OR OTHER OPINION OR INFORMATION IS GIVEN OR MADE BY MOODY'S IN ANY FORM OR MANNER WHATSOEVER.

MIS, a wholly-owned credit rating agency subsidiary of Moody's Corporation ("MCO"), hereby discloses that most issuers of debt securities (including corporate and municipal bonds, debentures, notes and commercial paper) and preferred stock rated by MIS have, prior to assignment of any rating, agreed to pay to MIS for appraisal and rating services rendered by it fees ranging from $1,500 to approximately $2,500,000. MCO and MIS also maintain policies and procedures to address the independence of MIS's ratings and rating processes. Information regarding certain affiliations that may exist between directors of MCO and rated entities, and between entities who hold ratings from MIS and have also publicly reported to the SEC an ownership interest in MCO of more than 5%, is posted annually at www.moodys.com under the heading "Shareholder Relations -- Corporate Governance -- Director and Shareholder Affiliation Policy."

Any publication into Australia of this document is by MOODY'S affiliate, Moody's Investors Service Pty Limited ABN 61 003 399 657, which holds Australian Financial Services License no. 336969. This document is intended to be provided only to "wholesale clients" within the meaning of section 761G of the Corporations Act 2001. By continuing to access this document from within Australia, you represent to MOODY'S that you are, or are accessing the document as a representative of, a "wholesale client" and that neither you nor the entity you represent will directly or indirectly disseminate this document or its contents to "retail clients" within the meaning of section 761G of the Corporations Act 2001.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, credit ratings assigned on and after October 1, 2010 by Moody's Japan K.K. ("MJKK") are MJKK's current opinions of the relative future credit risk of entities, credit commitments, or debt or debt-like securities. In such a case, "MIS" in the foregoing statements shall be deemed to be replaced with "MJKK". MJKK is a wholly-owned credit rating agency subsidiary of Moody's Group Japan G.K., which is wholly owned by Moody's Overseas Holdings Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of MCO.

This credit rating is an opinion as to the creditworthiness or a debt obligation of the issuer, not on the equity securities of the issuer or any form of security that is available to retail investors. It would be dangerous for retail investors to make any investment decision based on this credit rating. If in doubt you should contact your financial or other professional adviser.

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