Fitch Ratings has restored the AA(mex)' national scale rating on an ABS for Mexican toll road Chamapa-La Venta after the concessionaire running the project, Impulsora de Desarrollo Economico de America Latina (Ideal), submitted information required by the agency to properly assess the deal. Ideal is a unit of Grupo Financiero Inbursa, owned by Carlos Slim Helu, the seventeenth wealthiest person in the world as ranked by Forbes magazine.
Fitch had suspended the rating on Oct. 26 when Ideal failed to provide the necessary information. "We didn't have the information to perform an adequate analysis," said Salvador Salazar, associate analyst at Fitch. "Now it is flowing again." He said that the agency had never had problems with the concessionaire prior to this disruption. An official at Ideal said that the company had simply fallen behind in handing information over to Fitch.
The transaction has 281.2 million inflation-indexed units (UDIs) ($94 million) outstanding and matures July 8, 2017.
Connecting cities in the State of Mexico, Chamapa-La Venta has a history of twists and turns. The transaction backed by the highway's toll receipts came out before the 1994 Tequila Crisis, but managed to steer clear of the defaults that hit other paper in the sector after the sharp peso devaluation, according to Fitch analysts. The terms of the bond, however, changed with the approval of holders in 1998. Initially sized at Ps230 million ($21.4 million), the transaction's denomination was switch to UDIs from pesos, and its term was lengthened from a maturity of 2003 to 2017. Since then, the yield on the deal has been 300 basis points over the highest rate on government's benchmark UDIBONOs on a quarterly basis. The rate for the last quarter came out to 12.5%, according to Fitch analysts.
In early 2002, the initial operator, Tribasa, sold its concession rights to Inbursa, which eventually placed the business in the hands of its unit Ideal. In August 2002, Chamapa-La Venta issued the UDI equivalent of an additional Ps66 million in notes backed by toll receipts, with the same terms as the outstanding paper. Due to excess cashflow, the deal paid down 18 million UDIs in 2003 and 27 million UDIs in 2004. Fitch projects a 34 million-UDI pay down for 2005.
Traffic on the toll road grew 5.20% annually between 2002 and 2004 and zipped ahead at 12.8% through September, compared with the first nine months of 2004. Toll revenue, meanwhile, rose 8.50% annually between 2002 and 2004 and jumped 11% through September, from the same timeframe last year.
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