New York, November 27, 2012 -- Moody's Investors Service has affirmed the underlying Aa3 ratings on the National Academy of Sciences' (the Academy or NAS) bonds and will withdraw the enhanced Aa1/VMIG 2 ratings on the Series 2008A and 2009A variable rate demand bonds upon their conversion to a bank bought index floating rate mode effective December 3, 2012. The letters of credits with Bank of America, N.A. (rated A3/P-2) that had provided liquidity support for the two series will be terminated. The rating action affects $178 million of rated debt outstanding. The outlook remains stable.
SUMMARY RATING RATIONALE
The Aa3 rating reflects' the Academy's strong market position and reputation, stable operating performance that reflects conservative budgeting practices and monitoring, above-average level of operating flexibility. The rating also reflects the Academy's significant reliance on federal funding, which is partly mitigated by the diversity of sponsors for program revenues.
*Close ties with federal government as creation by an Act of Congress in 1863, and strong reputation as unbiased scientific and technical advisory institute, enlisting expertise of its highly regarded members to provide advice on scientific and technical issues primarily for the federal government
*Sponsor diversity of program revenues and ability to secure federal grants and contracts directly, without being required to compete with peers for funding
*Stable operating performance with above-average operational financial flexibility. In FY 2011 (ended December 31), average operating margin for the last three years was 2.4%. Cash flow has been stable, but low, and was 4.1% in FY 2011.
*Significant levels of reimbursement for debt service for assets used by the federal government for sponsored programs through indirect collection of depreciation and the federal Cost of Money reimbursement rate, which has historically been calculated at 96% of allowable square feet
*Real estate holdings, primarily located in Washington D.C., which are not fully captured on balance sheet nor reflected in Moody's calculation of financial resources (which excludes plant equity). In a period of extended financial stress, the Academy could have ability to tap these real estate holdings.
*Significant reliance on federal contract and grant revenue in environment of reduced federal research funding, including possible sequestration in January 2013. Federal grants and contracts represented 86% of total sponsored program revenues in FY 2011. These challenges are mitigated by the Academy's operating flexibility to adjust costs in line with a decline in contract and grant revenues, as well as management's diligent review of program operations.
*Thin liquidity, particularly relative to demand debt. In FY 2011, the Academy reported $100.5 million of monthly liquidity, which represents 103 monthly days cash on hand and covered demand debt by 0.7 times.
*Renewal risks associated with the direct bank purchase agreements. However, the initial eight year terms and headroom against covenants significantly mitigate potential concerns related the Academy's debt structure.
The stable outlook reflects the Academy's unique position as the nation's independent, nonpartisan scientific advisor, highlighted by a recent $350 million award from the BP settlement, stable operating performance derived from conservative budgeting practices and above-average, a reduction of risks associated with variable rate debt with the current mode conversion of the Series 2008A and 2009A bonds, and no additional borrowing plans.
WHAT COULD MAKE THE RATING GO UP
Sustained growth in financial resources that significantly boosts coverage of debt and operations; ongoing improvement in research funding levels accompanied by expanded diversity of revenue sources; further reduction of risks associated with debt structure and improved liquidity position
WHAT COULD MAKE THE RATING GO DOWN
Significant declines in federal funding of programs for which the NAS is unable to offset with expense cuts; outsized investment losses compared to similarly rated institutions; ongoing weak operating performance; borrowing that is not commensurate with growth in financial resources
PRINCIPAL RATING METHODOLOGY
The rating on the National Academy of Sciences bonds was assigned by evaluating factors believed to be relevant to the credit profile of NAS such as 1) the business risk and competitive position of the issuer versus others within its industry or sector, 2) the capital structure and financial risk of the issuer, 3) the projected performance of the issuer over the near to intermediate term, 4) the issuer's history of achieving consistent operating performance and meeting budget or financial plan goals, 5) the nature of the dedicated revenue stream pledged to the bonds, 6) the debt service coverage provided by such revenue stream, 7) the legal structure that documents the revenue stream and the source of payment, and 8) the issuer's management and governance structure related to payment.
The Global Scale Credit Ratings on this press release that are issued by one of Moody's affiliates outside the EU are endorsed by Moody's Investors Service Ltd., One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E 14 5FA, UK, in accordance with Art.4 paragraph 3 of the Regulation (EC) No 1060/2009 on Credit Rating Agencies. Further information on the EU endorsement status and on the Moody's office that has issued a particular Credit Rating is available on www.moodys.com.
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.
Information sources used to prepare the rating are the following: parties involved in the ratings and public 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.
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.
Jenny L. Maloney Vice President - Senior Analyst Public Finance Group Moody'sInvestors Service, Inc.250 Greenwich StreetNew York, NY 10007 U.S.A. JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376 SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653Dennis M. Gephardt Vice President - Senior Analyst Public Finance Group JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376 SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653 Releasing Office: Moody's Investors Service, Inc.250 Greenwich StreetNew York, NY 10007 U.S.A. JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376 SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653(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.
ALL INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN IS PROTECTED BY LAW, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, COPYRIGHT LAW, AND NONE OF SUCH INFORMATION MAY BE COPIED OR OTHERWISE REPRODUCED, REPACKAGED, FURTHER TRANSMITTED, TRANSFERRED,DISSEMINATED, REDISTRIBUTED OR RESOLD, OR STORED FOR SUBSEQUENT USE FOR ANY SUCH PURPOSE, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN ANY FORM OR MANNER OR BY ANY MEANS WHATSOEVER, BY ANY PERSON WITHOUT MOODY'S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT.
All information contained herein is obtained by MOODY'S from sources believed by it to be accurate and reliable. Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error as well as other factors, however, all information contained herein is provided "AS IS" without warranty of any kind. MOODY'S adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a credit 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. Under no circumstances shall MOODY'S have any liability to any person or entity for (a) any loss or damage in whole or in part caused by, resulting from, or relating to, any error negligent or otherwise or other circumstance or contingency within or outside the control of MOODY'S or any of its directors, officers, employees or agents in connection with the procurement, collection, compilation, analysis, interpretation, communication, publication or delivery of any such information, or (b) any direct, indirect, special, consequential, compensatory or incidental damages whatsoever (including without limitation, lost profits), even if MOODY'S is advised in advance of the possibility of such damages, resulting from the use of or inability to use, any such information. The ratings, financial reporting analysis, projections, and other observations, if any, constituting part of the information contained herein are, and must be construed solely as, statements of opinion and not statements of fact or recommendations to purchase, sell or hold any securities. Each user of the information contained herein must make its own study and evaluation of each security it may consider purchasing, holding or selling.
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.
Heute im Fokus
Renzi reicht Rücktritt ein. Abbott bläst geplante Übernahme von Alere ab. US-Rohöllagerbestände fallen erneut. Italien tüftelt an Rettungsplan für Krisenbank Monte Paschi. Erdogan - Türkei im Visier von Währungsspekulanten. Fitbit filetiert Smartwatch-Pionier Pebble.