The Tampa Port Authority has announced that the ratings firm of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Ratings Services has reaffirmed the authority’s credit rating of A- and has provided the authority with a “Stable” outlook.
The S&P rating is the latest in a continued series of positive ratings received by the port authority in recent years by not only S&P, but also by Moody’s and Fitch Ratings.
Despite declining cargo trends, the Tampa Port Authority's financial margins have remained strong in recent years. Furthermore, in fiscal year 2012, the port's operating revenues grew by 4% to $43.6 million. S&P cited the authority’s achievements in revenue, relatively low debt service levels, strong liquidity position, and the economic conditions in Hillsborough County as key factors in its rating.
The port authority realized record operating revenues for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012. S&P also referred to the authority’s long-term lease revenues, its diversity in its business lines and the state of Florida’s significant population growth as strengths.
Historically, the port relied on high-volume, low-value bulk cargoes such as phosphate and petroleum for the majority of its business. The port’s subsequent diversification throughout the last decade, including strong cruise activity and increased container operations, has enabled the port to expand its revenue mix. Additional strengths are the port’s increasing intermodal connectivity—including the under-construction I-4 connector—and the TPA’s taxing authority.
In recent years, the port authority has been working toward a strategic, aggressive capital campaign that has focused on expansion of container facilities, augmentation of bulk cargo berthing capacity and rehabilitation of petroleum docks, which are critical for the west and central Florida market. Wise financial decisions, guided by a business-model approach and an eye on diversification, have enabled the port authority to experience financial success.
“We are very pleased to receive recognition and a positive affirmation by Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services. Our strategic decisions and intelligent short- and long-term investments, are the foundation for the recent financial success at the Port of Tampa,” Paul Anderson, CEO and port director, said.
Claiming to be the largest port in Florida and one of the nation’s largest and most cargo-diverse seaports, major cruise homeport, and shipbuilding/ship repair center, the Port of Tampa is the largest economic engine in west-central Florida, supporting more than 80,000 jobs and over $15 billion in annual economic impact.