Standard & Poor’s last week raised its long-term rating to BBB from BBB-minus on the Cleveland Cuyahoga County Port Authority’s bond fund program. The outlook is stable.
The rating reflects a “strong enterprise risk profile,” as well as an “adequate” financial risk profile, the rating agency said in the upgrade report.
Most of the agency’s development projects are located across a five-county region in northeast Ohio. S&P said one possible challenge is a $9 million letter of credit from Fifth Third Bank that is part of the program reserve fund.
“We consider this to be a significantly negative credit feature due to the fact that the LOC has a 10-year term that can be extended every two years and the trustee is not required to draw on the LOC due to termination,” analysts said in the report.
The port has issued $129 million of revenue bonds and originated 29 loans through the program since 1997. It currently has 22 loans and $67.9 million of bonds outstanding.
“This upgrade is very welcome news because it will help us provide more attractive financing to a growing number of enterprises across our region,” said Will Friedman, the port’s chief executive.