PacifiCorp's wholly-owned subsidiaries, PacifiCorp Holdings, Inc. and PacifiCorp Australia Holdings Pty Ltd., have agreed to purchase Powercor, an electric utility in southeast Australia, for about $1.6 billion. Powercor is one of five distribution companies being sold by the State of Victoria in its first stage of privatizing distribution and generation utilities. Moody's Investors Service has placed the ratings of PacifiCorp and PacifiCorp Holdings on review for possible downgrade. Although Powercor's distribution business is low risk and represents less than 10 percent of PacifiCorp's total assets, Moody's is concerned about the significant leverage involved in the proposed transactions and the risks associated with an initial entry into the overseas market.
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