The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


March 11, 2013

Empire announces S&P ratings upgrade

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Empire District Electric Co. has reported that Standard & Poor’s has upgraded the utility’s corporate credit rating to BBB from BBB-, senior secured debt to A- from BBB+, senior unsecured debt to BBB from BBB- and the company’s commercial paper rating to A-2 from A-3.

S&P’s outlook for Empire is stable.

S&P indicated in its statement that the upgrade could be traced to Empire’s effective management of regulatory risk, including the recent approval of its rate settlement in Missouri, continued recovery in its service area following the 2011 tornado, and better-than-expected financial performance.

Laurie Delano, Empire vice president and chief financial officer, said in a statement: “We are very pleased with the action taken by Standard & Poor’s in upgrading our credit ratings. We view this as a positive result of our continued focus on and execution of our operational and financial plans. We expect that the result of these higher ratings will be lower future debt costs for our customers.”

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A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

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