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Auckland Airport A- credit rating affirmed, outlook lowered to ‘stable’ on $454M capital return plan

Auckland International Airport, the nation's busiest gateway, had its Standard & Poor's outlook revised to 'stable' from 'positive' while its A-/A-2 credit rating was affirmed following plans to increase debt to return $454 million to shareholders.

"The increase in debt will drive a relative weakening of the key financial metrics over the short term, in relation to our prior expectations, although this deterioration is not severe enough to result in the ratings being under downward pressure," Standard & Poor's credit analyst Thomas Jacquot said in a statement.

Shares in Auckland Airport slipped 1.1 percent to $3.53 and have gained 34 percent so far this year.