Fitch Affirms Notes Issued by 7 UBS/Banco Popular Puerto Rico Funds

miércoles 6 de agosto de 2014 16:01 GYT
 

(The following statement was released by the rating agency) NEW YORK, August 06 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings has reviewed and affirmed the ratings assigned to Short-Term Notes series and Medium-Term Notes series issued by seven Puerto Rico (PR) closed-end funds (CEFs) co-advised by Popular Asset Management and UBS Asset Managers (Puerto Rico). A complete list of rating actions follows at the end of this release. KEY RATING DRIVERS The main drivers for the rating actions are: --The asset coverage available to each series of notes at the individual, sub-account level; --The structural protections afforded by mandatory collateral maintenance provisions in the event of asset coverage declines; --The legal and regulatory parameters that govern the funds' operations; --The capabilities of UBS Asset Managers (Puerto Rico) and Popular Asset Management as co-advisers. FUNDS SUMMARY The funds are corporations organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of PR and are duly registered as non-diversified, closed-end management investment companies under the Puerto Rico Investment Companies Act of 1954. They have not converted to the amended act of 2013. For additional detail, see Fitch press release titled 'Fitch: Investors Sell Puerto Rico Bonds; PRICA Adds Uncertainty' published Feb. 12, 2014. The funds normally invest at least 67% of total assets in securities issued by PR entities. These include securities issued by the Commonwealth of PR, PR mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities, and corporate obligations and preferred stock of PR entities. Fund net asset values (NAVs) suffered material price erosion since summer of last year. In fall of 2013, PR bond prices declined due to Detroit price contagion and experienced further price declines following the enactment of the Puerto Rico Public Corporation Debt Enforcement and Recovery Act (Recovery Act) in June 2014. For additional detail, see Fitch press release titled 'Fitch: Puerto Rico Bonds Decline Following Recovery Act' published on July 11, 2014. Despite the impact on the funds' common stock, credit quality of the Fitch-rated notes was not impaired. Fund managers reacted swiftly by reallocating collateral to support the notes and deleveraged when needed, in line with the structural protections described below. Fund leverage ratios averaged 45% as of end of July. STRUCTURAL PROTECTIONS At the time of the ratings, the funds' asset coverage ratios, as calculated in accordance with the Fitch overcollateralization (OC) tests using the asset specific discount factors and the minimum discount factors found in Fitch's applicable criteria were in excess of 100%, which are the minimum asset coverage amounts deemed consistent with the assigned ratings. Each fund segregates collateral for each series of 100% Principal Protected Notes (comprising a medium-term note series and a short-term note series). The Fitch OC tests calculate asset coverage available to the notes and preferred stock, based on discounted market prices and diversification of the assets in each segregated collateral account. Should either of the asset coverage tests decline below 100% (as tested weekly) and not cure within the pre-specified timeframe of five business days, the governing documents would require the fund to reduce leverage in a sufficient amount to restore compliance with the applicable asset coverage tests on the final day of the cure period. THE ADVISOR UBS Asset Managers (Puerto Rico) and Popular Asset Management are the funds' investment advisors. Subject to the supervision of the funds' boards of directors they are responsible for the funds' overall investment strategy and implementation. UBS Asset Managers (Puerto Rico) is a division of UBS Trust Company of Puerto Rico, which is an affiliate of UBS Financial Services Incorporated of Puerto Rico, and Popular Asset Management is a division of Banco Popular de Puerto Rico. RATINGS SENSITIVITY The ratings may be sensitive to material changes in the credit quality or market risk profiles of the funds. A material adverse deviation from Fitch guidelines for any key rating driver could cause the ratings to be lowered by Fitch. Changes in the supply-demand dynamics with respect to invested collateral types may influence Fitch's analytical approach to the liquidity of underlying collateral types. In addition, the amount of total leverage assumed by a fund could also influence Fitch's analytical conclusion if such leverage increased the likelihood of a bankruptcy stay with respect to the overall fund. For additional information about Fitch rating guidelines applicable to debt and preferred stock issued by closed-end fund, please review the criteria referenced below, which can be found on Fitch's web site at 'www.fitchratings.com'. RATING ACTIONS Fitch has affirmed the following: Puerto Rico Investors Tax-Free Bond Fund I --Medium-term notes series at 'A'; --Short-term notes series at 'F1'. Puerto Rico Investors Tax-Free Fund --Medium-term notes series at 'A'; --Short-term notes series at 'F1'. Puerto Rico Investors Tax-Free Fund II --Medium-term notes series at 'A'; --Short-term notes series at 'F1'. Puerto Rico Investors Tax-Free Fund III --Medium-term notes series at 'A'; --Short-term notes series at 'F1'. Puerto Rico Investors Tax-Free Fund IV --Medium-term notes series at 'A'; --Short-term notes series at 'F1'. Puerto Rico Investors Tax-Free Fund V --Medium-term notes series at 'A'; --Short-term notes series at 'F1'. Puerto Rico Investors Tax-Free Fund VI --Medium-term notes series at 'A'; --Short-term notes series at 'F1'. Contact: Primary Analyst Yuriy Layvand, CFA Director +1-212-908-9191 Fitch Ratings, Inc. 33 Whitehall St. New York, NY 10004 Secondary Analyst Ian Rasmussen Senior Director +1-212-908-0232 Committee Chairperson Davie Rodriguez Senior Director +1-212-908-0386 Media Relations: Brian Bertsch, New York, Tel: +1 212-908-0549, Email: brian.bertsch@fitchratings.com. Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'. The sources of information used to assess this rating were the public domain, Popular Asset Management and UBS Asset Managers (Puerto Rico). Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'. The sources of information used to assess this rating were the public domain, Popular Asset Management and UBS Asset Managers (Puerto Rico). Applicable Criteria and Related Research: Rating Puerto Rico Closed-End Fund Debt and Preferred Stock (Aug 2013) Fitch: Chapter 9 Extension Would Be a Positive for Puerto Rico (Aug 2014) Fitch: Puerto Rico Bonds Decline Following Recovery Act (July 2014) Fitch Downgrades Puerto Rico GO, Sales Tax, Retirement System & Water Revenue Bonds (July 2014) Fitch Downgrades Puerto Rico Electric Power Auth's Rev Bonds; Maintains Watch Negative (June 2014) Puerto Rico Banks: Difficult Operating Environment Constrains Ratings (May 2014) Fitch: Investors Sell Puerto Rico Bonds; PRICA Adds Uncertainty (Feb 2014) Fitch: New Puerto Rico Fund Regulations Modest Credit Positive (Jan 2014) Fitch: Rocked Puerto Rico Muni Bonds Hold Tight (Oct 2013) Applicable Criteria and Related Research: Rating Puerto Rico Closed-End Fund Debt and Preferred Stock here Puerto Rico Banks: Difficult Operating Environment Constrains Ratings here Additional Disclosure Solicitation Status here ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: here. IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY'S PUBLIC WEBSITE 'WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM'. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE 'CODE OF CONDUCT' SECTION OF THIS SITE. FITCH MAY HAVE PROVIDED ANOTHER PERMISSIBLE SERVICE TO THE RATED ENTITY OR ITS RELATED THIRD PARTIES. DETAILS OF THIS SERVICE FOR RATINGS FOR WHICH THE LEAD ANALYST IS BASED IN AN EU-REGISTERED ENTITY CAN BE FOUND ON THE ENTITY SUMMARY PAGE FOR THIS ISSUER ON THE FITCH WEBSITE.