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Santee Cooper short-term nuclear debt gets highest rating

Staff Report
Published Nov. 26, 2012

Santee Cooper has received the highest short-term bond credit rating, F1+, for $200 million in commercial and tax-exempt bonds, according to a news release by Fitch Ratings service.

The state-owned utility company based in Moncks Corner plans to use proceeds from the bond offering to fund construction work at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County along with other work.

Santee Cooper and SCE&G, which is a subsidiary of SCANA Corp., are building two nuclear reactor units at the site after winning approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission earlier this year. The total cost of the project is expected to be $10 billion, with SCE&G owning 55% of the project and Santee Cooper owning 45%.

Goldman Sachs & Co., J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC and Barclays Bank PLC are serving as brokers for the commercial offering.

Santee Cooper also received a review from Fitch on $500 million in outstanding notes. The ratings service affirmed an F1+ rating for these as well, including:

· $250 million CP notes series A and AA

· $150 million CP notes series B and BB

· $100 million CP notes series C and CC

Santee Cooper received the high rating based on Fitch’s analysis that the company had enough liquid resources and a liquidity plan to cover the debt, including a long-term bond rating of AA-.

Most of Santee Cooper’s capacity to generate 5,651 megawatt of electricity comes from coal-fired plants, Fitch said in the news release. The utility generates 5.6% of its power from nuclear. The new units at the V.C. Summer site are expected to be operational in March 2017 and May 2018.