S&P and Fitch Assign 'AAA' Rating to Port of Houston Authority

HOUSTON, July 7, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Standard and Poor Rating Services (S&P) and Fitch Ratings assigned a 'AAA' rating to Port of Houston Authority unlimited tax (ULT) series 2015 refunding bonds to be issued to refund certain outstanding Port Authority bonds. The transaction is expected to achieve debt service savings in excess of $10 million. In their reports, both rating services affirmed the 'AAA' rating on the Port Authority's $702 million ULT bonds (pre-refunding). Both firms also concluded the Rating Outlook for the Port Authority is Stable.

The Port Authority's tax bonds are secured by an unlimited property tax levied on all taxable property within the Port Authority's taxing boundaries, which essentially cover the same area as Harris County.

Key rating drivers by both firms included a large, diverse regional economy, strong financial performance and position including the Port Authority's capital improvement plan (CIP). In Fitch's report, the firm noted the port's "inherent economic importance" to the nation and the Port Authority's "forward-looking capital improvement plan (CIP)," which "positions it for continued pre-eminence as a major national port."

"Our growth initiative remains a core priority," stated Port of Houston Authority Executive Director Roger Guenther. "We will continue to develop and strengthen the Port Authority's solid position as America's distribution hub by continuing to modernize and improve our facilities and in turn, generating and sustaining job creation opportunities and economic prosperity for the overall greater good of our region."

The Port Authority has a vigorous and robust expansion plan to keep up with the increased growth in cargo and shipping capacity to accommodate the growing demand for goods and services in the Gulf Coast region. Fitch views the Port Authority's capital project implementation history as a credit positive.

Fitch Ratings is a provider of credit ratings, commentary and research, providing value beyond the rating through independent and prospective credit opinions. Standard and Poor Ratings Services provides high-quality market intelligence in the form of credit ratings, research, and thought leadership.

About the Port of Houston Authority

For more than 100 years, the Port of Houston Authority has owned or operated the public cargo-handling facilities of the Port of Houston – the nation's largest port for foreign waterborne tonnage. The port is an economic engine for the Houston region, the state of Texas and the nation. It supports the creation of more than one million statewide jobs and more than 2.1 million nationwide jobs, and the generation of economic activity totaling more than $178.5 billion in Texas and $499 billion across the nation. For more information, visit the Port Authority website at: www.portofhouston.com

The Port of Houston Authority logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=719

CONTACT: Lisa Ashley, Director of Media Relations Office: 713-670-2644 Mobile: 832-247-8179 E-mail: lashey@poha.com

Source:Port of Houston Authority