April 24, 2019
LAKE CHARLES, La. — S&P Global Ratings became the second credit rating agency to upgrade the Port of Lake Charles’ bond rating this month, citing increased confidence in the Port and the Southwest Louisiana economy.
S&P raised the Port’s bond rating two notches, from A- to A+ because of what it saw as “strong management” at the Port and “extremely strong economic fundamentals” in Southwest Louisiana.
Previously, Moody’s Investor Service upgraded the Port’s bond rating from A3 to A2. Moody’s report attributed the increase to the Port’s “strong financial position” and “conservative debt management strategy,” along with the area’s thriving energy sector.
Mike Eason, president of the board of commissioners for the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District, said bond rating upgrades like this have been “extremely rare since 2008,” and that two-notch upgrades are virtually unheard of.
“The board has a good record operating the Port facilities and managing the district’s finances, and we expect it will manage the CIP (capital improvement plan) prudently,” S&P’s report reads.
The Port serves as landlord to companies along the Calcasieu Ship Channel, in addition to operating several marine terminals. S&P’s report said the Port benefits from long-term lease agreements with a diverse group of tenants, helping to stabilize the local economy.
It said tonnage and tenant base at the Port of Lake Charles is expected to change as projects start to come online, like Cameron LNG’s $10 billion liquefaction export facility.
“The fact that not one, but two agencies made significant upgrades to the Port’s bond rating speaks to its stability and viability for the future,” said Bill Rase, executive director for the Port of Lake Charles. “It’s a great sign that good things are happening here, and even better things are coming.”