Fitch places MBIA -insured Australian projects on negative watch

By Margarita Snegireva. Fitch Ratings placed MBIA insured issues of Australian infrastructure projects - Lane Cove Tunnel Finance Pty Ltd, Sydney Airport Finance Co Pty Ltd, Transurban Finance Company Pty Ltd and Southern Cross Airports Corp Pty Ltd - on negative watch.

Fitch said the underlying ratings of the infrastructure project debt obligations are not affected by the action.

Fitch Ratings, Ltd. is an international credit rating agency dual-headquartered in New York City and London. It was one of the three Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations (NRSRO) designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 1975, together with Moody's and Standard & Poor's. A. M. Best and Dominion Bond Rating Service have subsequently joined those three as NRSROs.

The firm was founded by John Knowles Fitch on December 24, 1913 in New York City as the Fitch Publishing Company . It merged with London-based IBCA Limited in December 1997, and is majority-owned by Fimalac (From Fimalac), a Paris, France-based holding company. In 2000 Fitch acquired both Chicago, Illinois-based Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co. (April) and Thomson BankWatch (December). Fitch is the smallest of the "big three" NRSROs, covering a smaller share of the market than S&P and Moody's, though it has grown with acquisitions and frequently positions itself as a "tie-breaker" when those other two agencies have ratings similar, but not equal, in scale.

Stephen W. Joynt is Chief Executive Officer of Fitch Group, Inc., the parent company of Fitch Ratings, Algorithmics and Fitch Training. Joynt also serves as Chief Executive Officer of Algorithmics, Inc. and as President and Chief Executive Officer of Fitch Ratings.

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