Global Infrastructure Finance

For more than three decades, Assured Guaranty has worked with local and sovereign governments, regulated utilities, and private-sector developers and operators, along with their bankers and advisors, to reduce the medium- and long-term funding cost of essential projects and services.  We are active in developed countries with investment-grade sovereign ratings in the Americas, Europe and the Asia-Pacific.

Among the issuers who can benefit are:

  • Public-private partnerships (PPP/P3)
  • Special purpose infrastructure companies/projects
  • Essential infrastructure companies/assets (e.g. airports, ports)
  • Regulated utility companies
  • Renewable energy projects
  • Sovereign issuers
  • Municipal and local authority issuers
  • Government-sponsored enterprises

Guaranteed infrastructure financings have the characteristics to meet fundamental demand from pension funds, insurance companies and other institutional investors seeking long-tenor, low-risk investments that are well matched to distant future liabilities. They also help banks compete for business, increase returns and manage lending capacity.

In addition to unconditionally guaranteeing timely payment of principal and interest, we add value through our credit skills, ability to negotiate documentation appropriate for our guaranty and ongoing surveillance capability. Our guarantees help issuers gain capital market access and achieve broader distribution in both domestic and cross-border markets, while providing investors credit protection and potentially enhanced market liquidity.

Alongside our longstanding U.S. public finance business, Assured Guaranty subsidiaries have written guarantees for sovereign, municipal and public infrastructure financings outside the United States since 1988. Our broad experience encompasses highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, rail projects, hospitals, water and waste management facilities, gas and electric distribution systems, solar power, government buildings, convention centers, stadiums, universities and other infrastructure.

We provide credit enhancement for listed bonds, private placements with sole or a restricted number of institutional investors, and bank loans. We apply our guaranty in both primary and secondary markets and to issues with fixed, floating or inflation-indexed interest rates.

Assured Guaranty subsidiaries have the ability to guarantee qualified infrastructure financings in the United States, United Kingdom and most countries of the European Union, as well as in Australia, New Zealand and certain other developed countries of Asia and the Americas. We maintain close contact with lenders, investors and borrowers in our various markets. 

Eligible infrastructure transactions finance essential public projects or services. We require that both the transaction’s underlying credit quality and the sovereign rating of the country of origin be at least investment-grade, and we apply other criteria appropriate for the transaction’s revenue sources, credit characteristics, transaction structure and expected return. Transaction structures are subject to local regulation, and not all applications of our guarantees can be made available in every jurisdiction.

Assured Guaranty Exposure to UK Water

Assured Guaranty UK Limited (AGUK) and Assured Guaranty (Europe) SA (AGE) are two bond insurance subsidiaries of Assured Guaranty Ltd. (NYSE: AGO) (together with its subsidiaries, Assured Guaranty).  The following table shows the par exposure of the Assured Guaranty group to the UK regulated water sector and to Thames Water.

 
Assured Guaranty 
AGUK (gross/net)
AGE (gross/net)
UK Water Sector £10.6 billion £4.5 billion / £673 million £1.69 billion / £116 million
Thames Water  £1.66 billion £635 million / £65 million £327 million / £16.8 million


The UK water sector makes up approximately 5% of Assured Guaranty’s total net par outstanding.  Assured Guaranty’s UK water portfolio has maturities between 2028 and 2062.

All exposure information above is as of March 31, 2024.

UK Water Sector
Assured Guaranty’s insured UK water company debt has a strong credit profile. The UK Water companies provide an essential public service and are in a well-regulated industry where Assured Guaranty guarantees the senior level debt, all of which has underlying investment grade ratings.

Assured Guaranty’s UK water debt exposure is composed of 15 unique obligors.  There is currently no default of the debt that Assured Guaranty guarantees, and all UK water company issuers guaranteed by Assured Guaranty are in compliance with the financial covenants applicable to the debt Assured Guaranty has guaranteed.

Interest coverage for all UK water obligors that Assured Guaranty has guaranteed is strong, with all but two obligors above 3 times (of the two that are below 3 times, one is at 1.5 times and the other one is at 2.7 times, Assured Guaranty’s highest coverage is at 8.2 times).

Regulated by Ofwat (Water Services Regulation Authority)
Thames Water and the other UK water companies continue to operate within their regulatory financial covenants set by Ofwat.  We highlight the following factors arising out of the regulatory framework applying to the UK water sector:

The privately owned water utilities operate like a monopoly in their service area and function under a regulatory regime governed by Ofwat.

The regulatory framework determines tariffs every 5 years (next one starts in 2025), following a process of intensive reviews of each company’s operating budgets and capex plans. The tariff determination is based on revenue requirements composed of operating expenses, economic depreciation (maintenance capex), tax and return on capital (i.e., regulation provides for equity to earn a return on their investment).

All the utilities have provisions in their regulatory licenses which include (i) the legal separation of the regulated entity from any unregulated businesses, (ii) limitations on business activities, and (iii) provisions to maintain an investment grade rating.

Ofwat requires that each company “must ensure” that it will maintain an investment grade rating.

Companies may not, without Ofwat’s consent, pay dividends while their credit rating is Baa3/BBB-, with a negative outlook or lower.

Thames Water
Against this regulatory backdrop, we make the following comments relating to Thames Water:

Thames Water’s immediate parent company, Kemble Water Finance (“Holding Company”), announced that it missed a debt interest payment due on April 2, 2024. Assured Guaranty does not guarantee any debt of Holding Company.  Assured Guaranty has guaranteed only senior Class A debt at the regulated operating company level (not Holding Company debt, or subordinated debt).

The regulated operating company revenues in the UK water sector are ring-fenced and protected against default of the Holding Company.  This means that Assured Guaranty’s exposure is covered by the Ofwat regulatory regime.  Operating company debt is not cross-defaulted to the Holding Company’s debt.

Thames Water, the regulated operating company, currently has GBP 2.4bn of liquidity available, sufficient to meet cash flow needs until May 2025.  Additionally, Thames Water has a debt service reserve fund for the operating company debt equal to 12 months.

Ongoing interest cover at Thames Water, the regulated operating company, remains around 3 times and is in covenant compliance.  Moody’s and S&P maintain investment grade ratings for the operating company.

If there were ever a claim filed against Assured Guaranty, Assured Guaranty would continue paying principal and interest in line with the original debt schedule unless it decides, in its sole option, to pay on an accelerated basis. 

**

Global Airport Sector:
 

 

$800,000,000


JFK Airport - New Terminal One, New York City
Fixed Rate Public Bonds, 2023

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Insured 2042, 2043, 2044, 2049 and 2060 maturities

 


€140,000,000


Heathrow Airport, London
Fixed Rate Public Bonds, 2023

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Insured 2058 and 2059 maturities




Contacts

International

  • Nick Proud
  • Senior Managing Director,
    Global Head of Origination
  • 44 0 20 7562 1910
  • Email
  •  
  • Dominic Nathan
  • CEO of Assured Guaranty
    UK Limited (AGUK) 
    and Head of International
  • 44 0 20 7562 1915
  • Email
  •  
  • Raphaël de Tapol
  • Managing Director of AGE
  • 33 6 31 81 51 88
  • Email

The Americas

  • Lorne Potash
  • Managing Director,
    Head of Infrastructure &
    Project Finance - Americas
  • 1 212 261 5579
  • Email
  •  
  • Christopher Jumper
  • Director, Infrastructure Finance
  • 1 212 261 5514
  • Email
  •  
  • Sam Nakhleh
  • Director, Infrastructure Finance
  • 1 212 261 5522
  • Email

All Infrastructure Finance Contacts

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