Moody's Upgrades Ratings On Teco Energy

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Moody's Investors Service upgraded its ratings on Teco Energy Inc. and its subsidiaries Friday, saying it sees an improved regulatory environment in Florida for the energy and utility company.

The rating agency upgraded the senior unsecured rating on Teco Energy and Teco Finance Inc., its financing subsidiary, one notch to "Baa2" from "Baa3". It also upgraded its senior unsecured rating on Teco's primary subsidiary, Tampa Electric Co., one notch to "A3" from "Baa1". All three of the ratings are in investment-grade rank.

Moody's said the rating outlooks for Teco, Tampa Electric, and Teco Finance are "Stable."

The rating agency's analyst Mitchell Moss said that Tampa Electric should see a more stable regulatory environment and less risk of political intervention. Additionally, the company's credit position is strong and stable.

Tampa Electric, an electric and gas utility, is Teco's largest subsidiary. The rating agency noted that two other energy companies recently reached rate agreements that reflect a more conciliatory rating environment in the state with regulators than in the past, which could bode well for Tampa Electric if it files a rate case in the future.

Teco Energy, based in Tampa, Fla., owns Tampa Electric as well as coal mining and Latin American power plant operations. Shares of the company fell 14 cents to close at $17.85 Friday.
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