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Rapid Ratings Expands Rating Service in New Zealan

Rapid Ratings Expands Rating Service in New Zealand

Editor's Summary:

Effective July 1st Rapid Ratings will offer on subscription

- Its proprietary software-based rating service in New Zealand covering all individual NZX listed companies for investors, lenders, creditors and consultants and others.

- Two special semi-annual reports on the NZX Top 50.

- Ratings of companies that wish to list on the NZX

- Full ratings for companies wishing to issue bonds, debentures and capital notes (This service is similar to the current service that Rapid Ratings has been offering to non-bank finance companies in NZ since March 2002.

- And more¡K¡K

Wellington: Dr. Patrick Caragata, Managing Director of Rapid Ratings, announced today that effective the first of July, the company would offer a full rating service in New Zealand of listed and unlisted companies for all investors, lenders, creditors, consultants and other parties. Rapid Ratings was created in New Zealand in 2001 when Collection House of Australia took a two-thirds position in the company. Dr. Caragata owns the other third. Rapid Ratings is an independent, online software-based global corporate credit rating agency. It has offices in Wellington, Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney and Munich.

"Currently," Dr. Caragata said, "using our webservice, we rate the top 100 listed companies on the NZX privately for institutional investors, notably investment funds. We are also the only effective rating agency in the market comprehensively rating non-bank finance companies where we combine onsite visits with qualitative assessments and our software-based quantitative rating. But the demand for our services across the Board in New Zealand has been so strong that we are acting now to meet needs in the market. Our software-based web-service is geared for large volumes of companies."

Rapid Ratings also currently provides software-based rating assessments of 1400 companies in the Australian market, and currently rates dozens of companies in other countries for clients in New Zealand, Australia and Germany. Rapid Ratings recently signed an agreement to provide its services to Lonsdale Securities in Melbourne, a subsidiary of Zurich Financial Services.

The new subscription services being offered to the general public include:

- Individual ratings of all listed companies for all clients.

- Full ratings (including onsite visits) for all companies wishing to issue bonds, debentures and capital notes in the New Zealand market, combined with ratings of the issues.

- Full ratings (including onsite visits) for companies that wish to list in the New Zealand market or move up to the "A" Board.

- A new twice-yearly high-level report ranking the NZX Top 50 and comparing the short, medium and long term credit ratings over time, as well as customised reports along similar lines (Top 20, Top 100 etc).

- A second twice-yearly report on the NZX Top 50 comparing the rating trends for each company with movements in the average share price. The results demonstrate share-price overshooting, undershooting and convergence with the company's fundamental financial health as measured by the credit rating as well as customised reports along similar lines (Top 20, Top 100 etc).

- Second opinions for auditors on the financial health for their clients.

- Basel II preparations for banks.

- Counterparty credit risk for large creditors, particularly those trading overseas, including counterparties in China, Japan, North America and Europe.

- Enterprise risk management reports on company financials for Boards and the Audit Committee of the Board.

- Financial health assessments for members of business associations.

- Reviews of trade credit insurance opportunities and risk.

- Ratings for commercial operations of municipal authorities.

- Later in the year, Rapid Ratings will offer its top 100 NZX company reports on its website to individual investors through a credit card facility.

"What has really given us momentum in the market", said Dr. Caragata, "is the public response to our successful track record in anticipating the demise of HIH Insurance and Enron (among others) 4 years before any global competitor, and our early warnings of looming financial distress for Air New Zealand, Tranz Rail and AMP years ago. Our clients tell us they have saved millions of dollars by heeding our credit risk assessments." Dr. Caragata cautioned that Rapid Ratings does not provide investment advice about buys or sells in the market. Rather the company offers an independent research and rating service that rates the level of risk within and across companies based on global standards, which permits investors and lenders to compare that level of risk with the rate of return or the cost of capital.

For general inquiries contact info@rapidratings.com.

ENDS

Dr. Patrick Caragata is the author of five books, including Business Early Warning Systems: Corporate Governance for the New Millennium (Butterworths, 1999). He is the founder and CEO of Rapid Ratings, a software-based on-line global corporate credit rating service headquartered in Australia. His previous positions include Managing Director, McCallum Petterson Financial Diagnostics in Wellington, Chief Tax Policy Adviser, Inland Revenue Department, New Zealand; Senior Policy Adviser at Investment Canada (working on the investment risks of the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement), and Senior Economist International at the Toronto-Dominion Bank in charge of the bank's country risk analysis group.


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