AEP gets investment grade, stable rating from Fitch to complete reviews by three ratings agencies

COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 11, 2003 - American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) said that it views today’s action by Fitch Ratings as a positive development, despite the downgrade, since all three ratings agencies have reviewed AEP and issued ratings that remain investment grade with stable outlooks.

Fitch’s decision to lower AEP’s senior unsecured ratings to BBB from BBB+ and list the company’s ratings outlook as stable completes reviews by the three ratings agencies - Fitch, Moody’s Investors Service, and Standard & Poor’s.

In mid-February, Moody’s revised AEP’s rating to Baa3 with a stable outlook. Last week, Standard & Poor’s revised AEP’s rating to BBB with a stable outlook.

“We are pleased to have completed these credit reviews with consensus investment-grade ratings and a stable outlook,” said Susan Tomasky, AEP executive vice president and chief financial officer. “These are trying times for many companies in our industry, but the agencies have recognized the actions we have taken to strengthen our balance sheet and our continued commitment to improving our financial profile.”

AEP’s available liquidity is approximately $4 billion, including nearly $1.9 billion in cash. A portion of this total includes proceeds from the company’s recent equity offering, which will be used to reduce debt. Last month, the company issued notes totaling more than $2 billion in proceeds and received commitments to extend a $1.5 billion credit facility two months before its maturity date. The equity offering completed in February raised more than $1 billion.

In January, AEP management announced steps to strengthen the company’s balance sheet. AEP said it expects to recommend the company’s board of directors reduce AEP’s dividend approximately 40 percent to $0.35 per share beginning in the second quarter, which will result in annual cash savings of approximately $340 million, immediately improve retained earnings and create free cash flow that can be used to pay down debt. AEP also will divest of non-core assets and return to the more traditional model of a regulated utility with a small commercial group that ensures maximum value for the output of the company’s generation assets. Funds generated from the sale of non-core assets will be used to reduce debt.

American Electric Power owns and operates more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States and select international markets and is the largest electricity generator in the U.S. AEP is also one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with almost 5 million customers linked to AEP’s 11-state electricity transmission and distribution grid. The company is based in Columbus, Ohio.


The comments set forth above include forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including (1) statements concerning the Company´s plans, objectives, expected performance and expenditures and (2) other statements that are other than statements of historical fact. These forward-looking statements reflect assumptions, and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from forward-looking statements are electric load and customer growth, abnormal weather conditions, availability of generating capacity, the ability to recover net regulatory assets and other stranded costs in connection with deregulation of generation, the outcome of environmental regulation and litigation, the impact of fluctuation in commodity prices and interest rates, and other risks and unforeseen events over which the Company has no control. The reader is also directed to the Company´s periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for additional factors that may impact the Company´s results of operations and financial condition. Furthermore, historical results may not be indicative of the Company´s future performance.

Pat Hemlepp
Director, Corporate Media Relations

Bette Jo Rozsa
Managing Director, Investor Relations