Singapore, November 15, 2012 -- Moody's Investors Service says that although Keppel REIT's financial metrics are well-positioned for its Baa3 rating and positive outlook, an upgrade to Baa2 is being hindered by the REIT's gradually increasing financial leverage over the last year.
"Moody's has kept a positive outlook on Keppel REIT's Baa3 rating because we believe it is committed to lowering its leverage closer to 40% in the next 12-18 months, a level that would be in line with Moody's higher-rated office REITs," says Jacintha Poh, Moody's Lead Analyst for Keppel REIT.
Poh was speaking after the publication of a report this week, titled "Keppel REIT: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions".
"Moody's expects Keppel REIT's capital expenditure requirements to be minimal, because most of its properties are new," says Poh.
The REIT's outlook was changed to positive from stable in October 2011, after its asset quality and income stability were greatly improved, following its acquisition of 87.5% interest in Ocean Financial Centre (OFC) in Singapore.
However, the REIT's adjusted debt to total assets is above 40%, owing to additional funding for a further 12.39% interest in OFC, and an upcoming 50% interest in the Old Treasury Building Office Tower in Western Australia's capital city of Perth.
As at 30 September, 2012, Keppel REIT had debt totaling SGD598 million, due in December 2012. Its cash balance was only SGD105 million.
"Nonetheless, Keppel REIT has a good track record of obtaining funds at low interest costs. It also has strong support from its sponsor, Keppel Land Limited. Moody's therefore believes the REIT is unlikely to face significant refinancing risks," adds Poh.
"In addition, the REIT has a portfolio of high-quality assets that provide stable income streams".
The principal methodology used in rating Keppel REIT was the Moody's Approach for REITs and Other Commercial Property Firms Industry Methodology published in July 2010. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.
Keppel REIT is one of the largest Singapore office REITs. It is sponsored by Keppel Land Limited (unrated) and was listed on the Singapore Exchange on 28 April 2006. It has nine assets located in Singapore and Australia, with a total portfolio size of approximately SGD6.35 billion as of 30 September 2012.
Subscribers can access the report at http://www.moodys.com/research/Keppel-REIT-Answers-to-Frequently-Asked-Questions-Credit-Focus--PBC_147280***
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Jacintha Poh Analyst Corporate Finance Group Moody'sInvestors Service Singapore Pte. Ltd.50 Raffles Place #23-06 Singapore Land TowerSingapore 48623 Singapore JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350 SUBSCRIBERS: (65) 6398-8308 Philipp L. Lotter MD - Corporate Finance Corporate Finance Group JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350 SUBSCRIBERS: (65) 6398-8308 Releasing Office: Moody's Investors Service Singapore Pte. Ltd.50 Raffles Place #23-06 Singapore Land TowerSingapore 48623 Singapore JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350 SUBSCRIBERS: (65) 6398-8308 (C) 2012 Moody's Investors Service, Inc. and/or its licensors and affiliates (collectively, "MOODY'S"). All rights reserved.
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