Amended: Fitch Completes U.S. Tobacco ABS Portfolio Review

NEW YORK--()--(Fitch Ratings has amended the 2015 U.S. Tobacco portfolio review spreadsheet originally published on Aug. 6, 2015. The file was amended to correct several Rating Outlooks, which were published incorrectly. Please see the amended spreadsheet with the correct Outlooks.)

Fitch Ratings has completed its annual review of tobacco ABS ratings accounting for the amount of Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) payment received by each trust in 2015. For 2015, the aggregate MSA payment was 0.36% higher than the amount 2014.

Fitch is placing 66 tranches on Rating Watch Negative due to the pending outcome of the tobacco criteria revision. It is expected that most downgrades will be one to two notches, which could potentially be lower than the current rating floor of 'B-sf'.

There are 10 downgrades, 11 upgrades and 164 affirmations. Although the MSA payment was stable year-over-year, many of these downgrades result from having model indicated grades which were below the current rating for two consecutive years. The upgrades were mostly on California issued trust and Puerto Rico which received a settlement in 2013.

Buckeye Tobacco Settlement Financing Authority, 2007 (Ohio) and Suffolk Tobacco Asset Securitization Corporation, Tobacco Settlement Asset-Backed Bonds, Series 2008 continue to have debt service reserve balances below their required levels. As a result, Fitch does not give them the benefit of a rating one notch above the model indicated grade regardless of whether the state received a settlement. Nassau County Tobacco Settlement Corporation, Tobacco Settlement Asset-Backed Bonds, Series 2006 had been drawing on its reserve account in the past, but is now at its required level.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

Fitch uses its breakeven model to analyse tobacco performance. The breakeven model assesses how much the MSA payment received by the trust could decline for each bond to pay at the legal final maturity date. The amount of the latest MSA payment that the transaction has received, the capital structure, the reserve account, and the bond's legal final dates are the key inputs to the model.

Since the tenor of these transactions is typically long and the cash flows can be unpredictable, qualitative adjustments may be taken to avoid rating volatility by requiring two years of consecutive model outputs in order to downgrade to the model implied output. However, if more than one notch difference exists between the current rating and the model implied rating, the bond will be downgraded to one notch above the model output. Tobacco ratings are capped at 'BBB+sf', based on Fitch's opinion of the strength of the tobacco industry. Bonds with Negative Outlook reflect Fitch's concern over a future deterioration in cash flows based on MSA payment decline breakeven analysis.

See the web file titled 'Fitch Completes U.S. Tobacco Portfolio Review' for a full list of breakeven multiples.

DUE DILIGENCE USAGE

No third-party due diligence was provided or reviewed in relation to this rating action.

Additional information is available at www.fitchratings.com.

Fitch Completes U.S. Tobacco ABS Portfolio Review -- Amended

https://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=871462

Applicable Criteria

Global Structured Finance Rating Criteria (pub. 06 Jul 2015)

https://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=867952

U.S. Tobacco Settlement ABS Criteria (pub. 09 Jul 2014)

https://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=751305

Additional Disclosures

Dodd-Frank Rating Information Disclosure Form

https://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/press_releases/content/ridf_frame.cfm?pr_id=991103

Solicitation Status

https://www.fitchratings.com/gws/en/disclosure/solicitation?pr_id=991103

Endorsement Policy

https://www.fitchratings.com/jsp/creditdesk/PolicyRegulation.faces?context=2&detail=31

ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: HTTP://FITCHRATINGS.COM/UNDERSTANDINGCREDITRATINGS. 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.

Contacts

Fitch Ratings
Jenny Ovalle, +1-212-908-0849
Associate Director
Fitch Ratings, Inc.
33 Whitehall Street
New York, NY 10004
or
Secondary Analyst
Emily Lee, +1-212-908-0667
Director
or
Committee Chairperson
Tracy Wan, +1-212-908-9171
Senior Director
or
Media Relations, New York
Sandro Scenga, +1-212-908-0278
sandro.scenga@fitchratings.com

Contacts

Fitch Ratings
Jenny Ovalle, +1-212-908-0849
Associate Director
Fitch Ratings, Inc.
33 Whitehall Street
New York, NY 10004
or
Secondary Analyst
Emily Lee, +1-212-908-0667
Director
or
Committee Chairperson
Tracy Wan, +1-212-908-9171
Senior Director
or
Media Relations, New York
Sandro Scenga, +1-212-908-0278
sandro.scenga@fitchratings.com