Standard

S&P Reduces Williams Cos. Ratings to Junk

Williams Cos. took on more water Tuesday as Standard & Poor’s (S&P) lowered the energy giant’s corporate credit rating two notches to “BB+” (junk bond status) from “BBB.” The move followed the company’s second quarter outlook released Monday, which precipitated a stock price drop-off to a 20-year low in trading that day, and sparked speculation that cash-strapped Williams could become the target of a takeover (see Daily GPI, July 23). Williams Cos. stock closed at $1.19 after an 82-cent (40%) plummet in Tuesday’s trading.

July 24, 2002

S&P Cuts Dynegy’s Ratings, Citing ‘Erosion’ in Core Business

Standard & Poor’s Rating Services on Monday lowered its long-term corporate credit ratings of Dynegy Inc. and its subsidiaries to “BB” from “BBB-“, reflecting the company’s increased use of secured financing that “places the unsecured debtholders at a disadvantage.” The Houston-based company’s ratings also will remain on CreditWatch with negative implications. The “erosion in Dynegy’s core merchant energy business has become more pronounced,” S&P said of its rating. “Despite cutbacks in capital expenditures and costs savings, including a reduction in the common dividend payout, needed incremental cash flow has been slow to materialize.”

July 23, 2002

S&P Cuts Dynegy’s Ratings, Citing ‘Erosion’ in Core Business

Standard & Poor’s Rating Services on Monday lowered its long-term corporate credit ratings of Dynegy Inc. and its subsidiaries to “BB” from “BBB-“, reflecting the company’s increased use of secured financing that “places the unsecured debtholders at a disadvantage.” The Houston-based company’s ratings also will remain on CreditWatch with negative implications. The “erosion in Dynegy’s core merchant energy business has become more pronounced,” S&P said of its rating. “Despite cutbacks in capital expenditures and costs savings, including a reduction in the common dividend payout, needed incremental cash flow has been slow to materialize.”

July 23, 2002

CMS Future Credit Quality Uncertain, Ratings Agencies Say

Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings last week both held to a negative credit watch for CMS Energy Corp. and its subsidiaries, Consumers Energy Co. and CMS Panhandle Pipeline Cos., after the company was able to extend its $450 million revolving credit facility another month. The Dearborn, MI-based company has about $8 billion in debt.

June 24, 2002

Electricity Reserves Look Adequate; Power, Gas Prices to Remain Volatile

A financial community audience hosted by Standard & Poor’s in New York City was told last Wednesday that in the wake of this year’s energy industry credit and credibility crisis, electricity reserves look adequate for North America through 2008, but energy price volatility is expected to continue, particularly in regard to natural gas. On average, however, gas prices should stay in the $2.75-$3.50/MMBtu range, according to a presentation by Boulder, CO-based researcher Douglas Logan, a principal in Platts Research & Consulting/RDI.

June 17, 2002

Energy Execs Predict 2-3 More Bankruptcies in Enron’s Wake

By this summer, at least two more energy trading companies — more likely asset-light instead of asset-heavy — may be forced to file for bankruptcy, which will offer opportunities for other companies, and perhaps even an opening for new trading players, a panel of energy executives forecast Tuesday. Speaking at the UBS Warburg Global Energy & Utilities Conference in New York City, the panel agreed that companies most likely to succeed will be the multi-dimensional players, with balanced portfolios that operate in both high or low volatility markets.

February 13, 2002

S&P Reports Record Corporate Defaults in ’01

Standard & Poor’s said last week that 2001 set a record for corporate defaults, with 211 companies worldwide — 162 in the United States — defaulting on $115.4 billion worth of debt. The old record was set a year earlier, when 132 companies defaulted on $42.3 billion of debt, said the credit ratings agency. S&P expects the U.S. economy to bottom out in the first quarter, with the default rate peaking near 11% by this summer and then “trailing off” by the end of 2002.

January 21, 2002

S&P Reports Record Corporate Defaults in ’01

Standard & Poor’s said Monday that 2001 set a record for corporate defaults, with 211 companies worldwide — 162 in the United States — defaulting on $115.4 billion worth of debt. The old record was set a year earlier, when 132 companies defaulted on $42.3 billion of debt, said the credit ratings agency. S&P expects the U.S. economy to bottom out in the first quarter, with the default rate peaking near 11% by this summer and then “trailing off” by the end of 2002.

January 15, 2002

KeySpan Readies Target Market With Gas Conversion Plan

With natural gas as its standard bearer and its sights set on the energy-starved East Coast, KeySpan Corp. announced it is now 8% ahead of its 2001 goal to add $60 million to its gross profit margin through gas conversions on Long Island and the Boston area, and is on target to reach about 90% of the home heating market in the Long Island region within the next few years. The company is now involved in four pipeline projects, and has set a goal to deliver almost 1 Bcf/d to the eastern suburbs of New York City.

August 27, 2001

KeySpan Readies Target Market With Gas Conversion Plan

With natural gas as its standard bearer and its sights set on the energy-starved East Coast, KeySpan Corp. announced it is now 8% ahead of its 2001 goal to add $60 million to its gross profit margin through gas conversions on Long Island and the Boston area, and is on target to reach about 90% of the home heating market in the Long Island region within the next few years. The company is now involved in four pipeline projects, and has set a goal to deliver almost 1 Bcf/d to the eastern suburbs of New York City.

August 21, 2001