Fitch Ratings has affirmed the following ratings for the Panama Canal Authority (ACP): Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'A' and $450 million senior unsecured notes at 'A', reflecting the ACP's solid revenue profile and low leverage levels.
Fitch Ratings highlighted that the Panama Canal provides unique connectivity and time savings for world maritime trade. In addition, Fitch Ratings stated that the rating outlook is stable, noting the following ratings drivers: the Panama Canal's resilience to economic downturns, diversified revenue sources, a robust toll structure, and solid competitive position, supported by revenues resulting from the opening of the Expanded Canal.
The credit rating agency noted that the ACP compares favorably with other rated larger intermodal transportation entities, adding that the ACP has a comfortable liquidity headroom, which is sufficient to meet upcoming debt payments.
The ratings come just over two months after the inauguration of the Expanded Panama Canal. Since then, more than 160 vessels have transited the Expanded Canal, including container ships, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers, vehicle carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, a new market segment for the Canal. The significant demand shown by the maritime industry reinforces the need for the Expansion, its potential and the benefits it brings to global commerce.
Just last month, Standard & Poor's (S&P) Global Ratings affirmed its 'A-' long-term corporate credit and debt ratings of the ACP, reiterating the credit rating agency's trust in the management, operation and investments of the Panama Canal.