New Delhi: In step with India rating upgrade, Moody’s Investors Service on Friday upgraded issuer ratings of nine state-owned firms including oil producer Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC), refiners Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) , Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd (HPCL), power generator NTPC and gas utility GAIL (India).

The foreign currency issuer ratings of BPCL, HPCL, IOC and Petronet LNG Ltd (PLL) was upgraded to Baa2 from Baa3, the same as India’s sovereign rating upgrade. The outlook on these ratings have been revised to stable from positive, Moody’s said in a statement.

For ONGC, which enjoyed a rating higher than the sovereign, the foreign currency issuer rating has been upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2. “The outlook is stable," it said. Simultaneously, ratings of NTPC, hydroelectric producer NHPC, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and GAIL India have also been raised to Baa2 stable.

Early on Friday, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded India’s local and foreign currency issuer ratings to Baa2 from Baa3 and changed the outlook on the rating to stable from positive. This upgrade comes after 13 years. India’s sovereign credit rating was last upgraded in January 2004 to Baa3 (from Ba1).

“The rating upgrades for IOC, BPCL and HPCL follow the upgrade of the sovereign rating and reflect the strategic importance of the oil marketing companies as they own and operate the majority of the country’s fuel refining entities and most of the fuel distribution infrastructure," Moody’s said.

The upgrade of the foreign currency ratings of ONGC follow the raising of the ceiling for foreign currency bonds, it said. While for PLL the upgrade is in step with changes in rating of IOC and BPCL, Oil India Ltd (OIL) rating remains unchanged at Baa2.

“The upgrade in ratings for NTPC, NHPC, NHAI and GAIL follows the upgrade of the Indian sovereign rating and reflects the strategic importance of these entities to the country, as well as their close operational and financial links with the government," Moody’s said.

NTPC’s current installed capacity represents 15.8% of India’s installed power generation capacity. NHPC is the largest hydro power generator of India and accounted for about 15% of country’s total installed hydro capacity of around 44.5 GW as of March 2017.

Moody’s said the baseline risk of NHAI is closely related to the Indian government’s financial strength. “As a result, the baseline risk for NHAI is effectively the default risk of the Indian government," it said. GAIL has a dominant position in the gas transmission business in India. Its transmission pipelines represented around 75% of country’s network and the company had around 60% market share in gas marketing.

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