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Brookfield to Refinance Debts

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Bermuda-based utility partnership Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P. (BIP - Free Report) announced that it will issue $400 million, 3.455% Series 1, medium-term notes due October 2017 to refinance its current debt obligations, recompense outstanding amounts under its credit facilities and for general corporate purposes. The interest is payable on a semi-annual basis.

The offering of notes is expected to be completely guaranteed by Brookfield Infrastructure and its key business wings. Subject to certain customary conditions, the closing date for the issuance of notes is set on or around October 10, 2012. The debts were issued as per the condition laid out in shelf prospectus dated July 12, 2012.

Standard& Poor Rating Services has assigned a BBB+ rating to the notes implying that the partnership has the capability to meet its financial commitments depending upon current economic environment.

Brookfield’s debt-to-equity ratio at the end of the second quarter 2012 was 73.8%, down from 80.4% at year-end 2011. However, with the issuance of notes, Brookfield’s debt-to-equity ratio is expected to revert to 80.3%. Interest expenses of the partnership in the second quarter 2012 were $96 million which could increase in the following quarters with the currently proposed issuance.

The partnership is relatively new and over the five years of existence it has consistently issued units and notes for meeting its liquidity needs. Brookfield Infrastructure recently concluded refinancing of $1.3 billion, 9.6% maturing bonds to minimize its debt levels over a span of five years in its North American gas transmission businesses.

The partnership’s cash in hand as of June 30, 2012, declined by a sharp 45.3% to $128 million from $153 million as of December 31, 2011. Net debt as of June 30, 2012, was $5,593 million, up from $5,193 million at the end of June 2011.

The Zacks Consensus Estimates for the third quarter and full year 2012 are currently pegged at 55 cents per unit and $2.27 per unit, respectively. In the fourth quarter 2012, the partnership plans to raise roughly $350 million and $120 million of corporate debt to finance its debt liabilities related to its natural gas transmission businesses. One of its peers is Texas-based Calpine Corporation .

Brookfield Infrastructure is primarily engaged in the ownership and operation of premier utilities, transport and energy, and timber assets in North and South America, Australasia and Europe. It operates high quality, long-life assets that generate stable cash flows and require relatively minimal maintenance capital. The partnership has a market capitalization of $6.43 billion.

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