In April 2006, Aspire Defence Finance PLC, which acts as the financing conduit for the group, issued two series of Guaranteed Secured Bonds due 2040 totalling £1.768 billion (including £230 million of Authority Variation Bonds and £75 million of Rescue Variation Bonds).
Both series carry a coupon of 4.674% and have identical terms, save that Series A is guaranteed by Ambac Assurance UK Limited and Series B is guaranteed by Assured Guaranty (London) Limited (formerly MBIA UK Insurance Limited). The prospectus dated 31 March 2006 contains detailed information regarding the Bonds and the Project. In December 2015 £75 million of Rescue Variation Bonds were cancelled.
Reporting & Assessment
Aspire Defence regularly reports to Ambac, Assured Guaranty and rating agencies on the Project’s progress, and provides certain certifications to the Bond Trustees. Copies of the annual certification and reports have also been made available here to debt investors.
Standard & Poor’s currently asses the Project’s underlying credit rating as A- (Negative); the outlook having been amended from Stable on 27 July 2016. When the Bonds were issued in 2006 the underlying rating was assessed by Standard & Poor’s as BBB- (Stable). It was increased to BBB (Stable) in March 2010, BBB+ (Stable) in April 2011, BBB+ (Positive) in May 2012, and A- (Stable) in April 2014. Periodic updates to their analysis can be obtained from www.standardandpoors.com.
Moody’s have assessed the Project’s underlying credit rating as A3 (stable). When the Bonds were issued in 2006 the underlying rating was assessed by Moody’s as Baa3 (Stable). It was increased to Baa2 (Stable) in October 2009 and the outlook changed to Positive in April 2012. The rating was increased again to Baa1 (positive) in April 2013 and to A3 in February 2015. Periodic updates to their analysis can be obtained from www.moodys.com.
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