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Moody's upgrades 2 FirstEnergy transmission companies

Moody's on March 21 upgraded the senior unsecured and issuer ratings of American Transmission Systems Inc. and Mid-Atlantic Interstate Transmission LLC to A3 from Baa1, with stable outlooks.

"The upgrade of [the FirstEnergy Transmission LLC subsidiaries] is prompted by our expectation that they will continue to produce strong financial metrics, as their robust capital investment programs are supported by a credit supportive regulatory framework under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission," Moody's analyst Jairo Chung wrote in a report.

The upgrade reflects the reduced contagion risk from ultimate parent company FirstEnergy Corp., which recently divested its unregulated generation operations. However, Moody's said FirstEnergy's "relatively weak credit quality" limits potential future upgrades of the transmission companies.

Moody's also affirmed the senior unsecured and issuer ratings of FirstEnergy Transmission at Baa2 and of Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Co. at A3.