Innovative Euro 1.845 Billion Securitisation Strengthens
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 Ambac UK.
"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 transaction.
"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, email@example.com/
/Web site: http://www.ambac.com /
CO: Ambac Financial Group, Inc.; Aeroporti di Roma S.p.A. ST: Italy, New York IN: FIN AIR SU: FNC
-0- Feb/20/2003 22:05 GMT