Moody’s Upgrades Stockton’s Bond Rating
Galloway, N.J. ― Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Stockton University’s bond rating to A3 from Baa1 with a stable outlook, the credit rating agency announced Thursday.
According to the report, the upgrade was driven by material strengthening in wealth and liquidity, successful execution of the Stockton Atlantic City Phase II expansion, and consistently sound earnings margins. Moody’s cited “management’s credibility and very good financial strategies” as contributing to the completion of the Atlantic City campus projects and securing support from the State of New Jersey.
“Stockton’s A3 issuer rating is also supported by its very good brand and strategic positioning, regional importance, sizable scale, and ability to maintain steady operations despite a constrained tuition revenue environment,” the Moody’s report stated.
“I am proud to have helped guide Stockton to such a favorable financial position as I prepare to retire as president on June 30,” President Harvey Kesselman said. “This rating reflects the hard work and dedication from everyone across Stockton, and we appreciate the support we have received from the community, county and state to continue our expansion in Atlantic City and fulfill our role as an Anchor Institution.”
The stable outlook incorporated Moody's expectations of continuing solid earnings margins to provide at least 1.5-times debt service coverage, with generally stable liquidity and wealth. It also reflected Moody’s expectations of very limited new debt during the outlook period.
Factors that could lead to an upgrade of the ratings include improved brand and strategic position, reflected in strengthening student demand, philanthropy and revenue trends, or significant growth in wealth and liquidity, improving both the leverage profile and operating flexibility.