APAC telco credit scores hit by regulators

Michael Carroll
17 Jun 2011

Plans to separate Telstra’s fixed and wireless businesses as part of Australia’s next generation network rollout is making the country a more risky place for telcos to do business, Standard & Poor’s claims.

The credit ratings agency states regulator-imposed changes are impacting the once stable positions of operators across Asia Pacific, citing Australia’s NBN project and plans to spin off Telecom New Zealand’s Chorus networks arm as examples in a new report released yesterday.

Standard & Poor’s notes the regulatory changes are colliding with operators' need to invest more in network rollouts and upgrades, creating uncertainty in a market that has traditionally attracted stable credit ratings.

Thailand is ranked as the most risky market, with New Zealand and India in joint second, ahead of Australia, the report reveals. Hong Kong ranks as the most secure market, New Zealand news site Stuff.co.nz reports.

However, the agency predicts the situation will settle down once planned separations are completed. It notes the telecoms industry has traditionally generated strong cash flows and maintained low levels of debt

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