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Fitch Affirms Preferred Share Ratings of Eaton Vance Limited Duration Income Fund at 'AAA'

Friday, March 1, 2013 4:10 PM


Fitch Ratings has affirmed the 'AAA' ratings assigned to the auction market preferred shares (AMPS) issued by Eaton Vance Limited Duration Income Fund (NYSE AMEX:EVV), a closed-end fund managed by Eaton Vance Management:

--$266,625,000 of AMPS series A, B, C, D and E each with a liquidation preference of $25,000 per share at 'AAA'.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

The affirmation follows Fitch's annual review of EVV and reflects:

--Sufficient asset coverage relative to Fitch's published criteria;

--The structural protections afforded by mandatory de-leveraging provisions in the event of asset coverage declines;

--The legal and regulatory parameters that govern the fund's operations;

--The capabilities of Eaton Vance Management as the investment advisor.

Fitch's ratings on AMPS speak only to timely repayment of interest and principal in accordance with the governing documents and not to potential liquidity in the secondary market.

LEVERAGE

As of Jan. 31, 2013, the fund had total assets of approximately $2.8 billion and leverage of $805 million or 29% of assets. Leverage consisted of $480.2 million from a conduit credit facility, $59.1 million from reverse repurchase agreements and $266.6 million from rated AMPS.

ASSET COVERAGE

As of the same date, the fund's asset coverage ratios, as calculated in accordance with the Fitch total and net overcollateralization tests (Fitch OC Tests) per the 'AAA' rating guidelines outlined in Fitch's applicable criteria, were in excess of 100%, which is the minimum asset coverage amount deemed consistent with an 'AAA' rating. These tests serve as minimum asset coverage covenants required by the fund's governing documents. The governing documents require the fund to restore compliance within a 28 business-day period if asset coverage declines below 100%.

Additionally, the fund's asset coverage ratios for total outstanding AMPS and senior borrowings from the credit facility, as calculated in accordance with the Investment Company Act of 1940, were in excess of 200%, which is also a minimum asset coverage required by the fund's governing documents.

FUND PROFILE

Eaton Vance Limited Duration Income Fund is a non-diversified, closed-end management investment company, registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended. The fund commenced operations in May 2003 with the investment objective of seeking a high level of current income with a secondary objective of seeking capital appreciation. The fund invests primarily in two investment categories, U.S. government agency mortgage-backed securities and investments rated below investment grade including senior loans and bonds.

As of Jan. 31, 2013, the portfolio consisted mainly of high-yield corporate securities, mortgages-backed securities guaranteed by U.S. government agencies and senior loans. EVV's top sector concentrations were in the Fitch sector categories of U.S. government agencies; and computer and electronics, telecommunications. Given the high levels of issuer and sector diversification of the fund's assets, in accordance with Fitch's applicable rating criteria, no additional haircuts were added to the asset specific discount factors used for calculating asset coverage.

The fund may purchase senior loans that may be fully or partially unfunded and the commitments of which the fund is obligated to fulfill at the borrower's discretion. Fitch reviewed the size of unfunded loan commitments as of Jan. 31, 2013 and found them to be less than 1% of total assets.

As of the same date, the fund invested in foreign currency denominated securities and utilized forward foreign currency exchange contracts to hedge the potential exchange rate risk associated with such investments. Fitch notes that for unhedged positions, exchange rate risk is included as part of Fitch's assessment of the sufficiency of asset coverage available to rated AMPS. The fund also used derivatives such as interest rate futures to manage exposure to interest rate risk.

THE ADVISOR

Eaton Vance Management, a subsidiary of Eaton Vance Corp. acts as the investment adviser to the fund. As of Dec. 31, 2012, Eaton Vance Corp. and affiliates managed approximately $252 billion in assets.

RATING SENSITIVITIES

The ratings may be sensitive to material changes in the credit quality or market risk profiles of the fund. A material adverse deviation from Fitch guidelines for any key rating driver could cause the rating to be lowered by Fitch. For additional information about Fitch closed-end fund ratings guidelines, please review the criteria referenced below, which can be found on Fitch's website.

Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'. The ratings above were solicited by, or on behalf of, the issuer, and therefore, Fitch has been compensated for the provision of the ratings.

The sources of information used to assess this rating were the public domain and Eaton Vance Management.

Applicable Criteria and Related Research:

--'Rating Closed-End Fund Debt and Preferred Stock' (Aug. 15, 2012);

--'2013 Outlook: Closed-End Funds' (Dec. 14, 2012).

Applicable Criteria and Related Research

Rating Closed-End Fund Debt and Preferred Stock

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=686101

2013 Outlook: Closed-End Funds

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=696831

ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: HTTP://FITCHRATINGS.COM/UNDERSTANDINGCREDITRATINGS. IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY'S PUBLIC WEBSITE 'WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM'. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE 'CODE OF CONDUCT' SECTION OF THIS SITE.

(Source: Business Wire )
(Source: Quotemedia)

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