Monday, March 14, 2011

What's The Current Risk With Japan's Nuclear Catastrophe?

Just read the following posting on ZH: TEPCO: With $91 Billion In Debt, Got CDS?

  • Now that the market has had some time to digest the events over the weekend, it may be time to hedge risk on the company most exposed to the nuclear shock in Japan, Tokyo Electric Power Company. The company was just downgraded by Goldman Sachs to Neutral (which means it held it as a Buy until now) as the firm does not see "a dividend hike"... We see far greater issues for the company's equity investors than just a dividend hike. Number one: TEPCO (9501.T) has over $90 billion in debt and roughly $30 billion in equity buffer. As Bruce Krasting points out vis a vis the equity - "it's gone." More from BK: "I used to work on financing these things. It's all long term leases. The actual debt behind the power plants is multiples of what they show on the balance sheet."

  • Even S&P had some choice words to say about the company back in January:

    Standard & Poor's on Friday lowered the credit ratings of five electricity providers, including Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501), or Tepco, and two city gas firms.

    The utilities were knocked down a notch to AA minus from AA in a move that echoed the ratings agency's cut of Japan's long-term sovereign debt a day earlier.

    In explaining the move, the U.S. rating agency cited the companies' "status as public utilities," noting that they are "crucial to the government's domestic energy policy." The Tokyo metropolitan government, Aichi Prefecture, and government-affiliated institutions were also downgraded to AA minus.

    By contrast, S&P affirmed the ratings of Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), Canon Inc. (7751) and other Japanese companies rated AA. They are likely to maintain their ability to meet financial commitments even if Japan defaults on its debt, explains S&P.