Financial Structure for Rome Airport Ownership
Ambac Guarantee Lowers Cost of Funds and Broadens Distribution of Securities
ROME, Feb. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Aeroporti di Roma S.p.A., which
holds the concession to run Rome's two international airports, significantly
improved its financial structure and flexibility with a euro 1.845 billion
asset-backed financing today. The financing, arranged by Barclays Capital and
Mediobanca, was strengthened by a triple-A-rated guarantee on euro 1.2 billion
of asset-backed notes by Ambac Assurance UK Limited. The remainder of the
financing consists of bank debt. In addition to the note guarantee, Ambac's
financial services affiliate provided credit enhancement to the hedging of the
issuer's cross-currency exposures in the transaction.
Special-purpose vehicle Romulus Finance s.r.l., issuer of the notes, was
incorporated under Italian securitisation law 130/99 by Aeroporti di Roma to
enable this financing. The transaction allowed Aeroporti di Roma to lower the
overall cost of funds and provided the ability to tap funding sources as may
be needed in the future. "The success of this offering provides a strong
confirmation of the value of the Ambac product on the European Continent. It
demonstrates our ability to understand and add value to a complex structure as
well as encourages pan-European distribution," said John Uhlein, Chairman of
"With this transaction, Aeroporti di Roma effectively lengthens the
maturity profile of its debt facilities to better match the long life of their
concession to run the airports," said David Wallis, Managing Director in Ambac
Assurance UK, London.
Aeroporti di Roma holds the Concession to run Rome's Fiumicino and
Ciampino Airports until 2044. The essential, public service nature of these
facilities and the limited competition from alternate means of transportation
helped make the securitisation structure possible. The airports, formerly
owned and run by the Italian government, were privatized in a series of
transactions that began in 1997. In July 2002, a consortium led by Macquarie
Bank Ltd. agreed to acquire the Concession and sought with others to decrease
existing financing costs and increase future operating flexibility with this
"Ambac's prior experience with the Italian securitisation law in the Imser
securitsation, which closed in October 2002, as well as our long association
with airport credit analysis and financings, enabled us to help develop the
structure and become comfortable with the credit," Uhlein said.
Ambac Financial Group, Inc., headquartered in New York City, is a holding
company whose affiliates provide financial guarantees and financial services
to clients in both the public and private sectors around the world. Ambac's
principal operating subsidiary, Ambac Assurance Corporation, a leading
guarantor of public finance and structured finance obligations, has earned
triple-A ratings, the highest ratings available from Moody's Investors
Service, Inc., Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, Fitch, Inc. and Rating and
Investment Information, Inc. Ambac Financial Group, Inc. common stock is
listed on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol ABK).
SOURCE Ambac Financial Group, Inc.
/CONTACT: Investor and Media, Peter R. Poillon of Ambac, +1-212-208-3333,
/Web site: http://www.ambac.com /
CO: Ambac Financial Group, Inc.; Aeroporti di Roma S.p.A.
ST: Italy, New York
IN: FIN AIR
-0- Feb/20/2003 22:05 GMT
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