NEWS RELEASE. R&I Affirms Ratings: 4 Mid-sized City Gas Companies. Rating and Investment Information, Inc. (R&I) has announced the following:

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1 Jun 05, 2015 R&I Affirms Ratings: 4 Mid-sized City Gas Companies Rating and Investment Information, Inc. (R&I) has announced the following: Saibu Gas Co., Ltd. : Rating Outlook: Hokkaido Gas Co., Ltd. : Rating Outlook: Hiroshima Gas Co., Ltd. : Rating Outlook: Chubu Gas Co., Ltd. : A-, Affirmed Rating Outlook: RATIONALE: The four mid-sized city gas companies listed above are currently building their key facilities. The construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and trunk pipelines imposes a heavy investment burden relative to their business size. They face a challenge of recouping these large investments steadily through an increase in gas sales volume and reducing debt. Since their facilities profile and raw material supply sources change considerably, it is also important to pass cost fluctuations on to gas rates. All of the companies are capturing new demand, though not as successful as they envisaged at the time of their investment decisions, and have implemented gas rate revisions as appropriate. Based on its view that they will likely maintain a certain level of cash flow generating capacity, R&I has affirmed the ratings for these companies with Rating Outlooks. While attention should be paid to changes in the business environment stemming from the regulatory reform of gas business, Japan's pipeline network is yet to be sufficient, and there are many constraints on competition, as evidenced by a limited number of competitors capable of procuring natural gas. R&I will closely examine the detailed design of the new regulatory framework and its impact on the companies following the revision of the Gas Business Act. The outcome will be incorporated into the ratings. [Evaluations of Individual Companies] Saibu Gas Co., Ltd. Saibu Gas Co., Ltd. is Japan's sixth largest city gas company by gas sales volume and ranks fourth after the three leading city gas companies in terms of the number of customers and the length of pipelines. It serves major cities of the northern Kyushu region, such as Fukuoka, Kitakyushu, Nagasaki, Sasebo and Kumamoto. While its strength lies in the relatively high percentage of lucrative household

2 gas sales, raising operating efficiency is difficult because its supply areas are distant from each other. When a large LNG terminal in the Hibikinada district of Kitakyushu City started operation in November 2014, the company changed raw material suppliers, which has allowed it to reduce raw material costs. With the investment of 66 billion yen in the terminal driving debt higher, the balance between debt and cash flow and the debt-equity structure are not as good as the rating suggests. From FY2015 ending March 2016, however, R&I expects debt to fall because investment will decrease. While the Rating Outlook is, the company needs to improve its financial balance through the expansion of large customers and other efforts. Kyushu Electric Power Co., Inc. plans to enter the gas retail market in earnest, according to its medium-term management policy announced in April Attention should be paid to developments. Hokkaido Gas Co., Ltd. Hokkaido Gas Co., Ltd. is the largest city gas company in Hokkaido and primarily supplies gas to cities such as Sapporo, Otaru and Hakodate. Despite harsh competition from kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas and all-electric houses, among others, there is significant room for demand growth, as its supply areas have large energy demand for heating because of cold climates and natural gas has yet to be widely used. The Ishikari LNG terminal started commercial operation at the end of November Partly because of a shift in the majority of supply sources from relatively inexpensive domestically produced gas to purchased LNG, total costs surged. The company's revenue/expenditure has stabilized, however, as a result of rate revisions in FY2013 ended March 2014 and the enhancement of management efficiency. Even so, profit levels are lower than before. Recouping investment in the new terminal and restoring profits through larger gas sales volume is an issue to be addressed. Although debt is ballooning because of the ongoing construction of LNG Tank No.2 slated for completion in FY2016, the balance between debt and cash flow and the debt-equity structure are likely to improve after the completion, as large investment projects will be over. Given that there are few competing LNG supply sources in Hokkaido, R&I expects the impact from the regulatory reform of gas business to be limited. Hiroshima Gas Co., Ltd. Hiroshima Gas Co., Ltd. is the largest city gas company in the Chugoku and Shikoku regions. As its customers include large plants for transport machines and electronics products, the proportion of industrial gas is relatively large. The company procures LNG independently from Sakhalin, in addition to Indonesia, its mainstay source of supply, based on long-term contracts. Because of its business size and other constraints, however, reducing procurement costs has been a long-standing issue. Construction works for the functional expansion of the LNG terminal in Hatsukaichi City are thus underway to accommodate large tankers and thereby reduce transportation costs. Furthermore, the company plans to begin procuring LNG from Osaka Gas Co., Ltd., a shift from some comparatively costly supply sources in Indonesia. This attempt is expected to bring certain benefits. Although the volume of sales to a semiconductor plant, its largest customer, is volatile, total gas sales volume will likely be relatively solid, partly because Hiroshima Gas signed a sales contract with a new large customer. As large investments are expected to be completed in FY2015 ending March 2016, the company's earning capacity and debt-equity structure should remain commensurate with the rating. With its gas pipeline network not connected to other gas suppliers, Hiroshima Gas is unlikely to be affected severely by the regulatory reform of gas business. Chubu Gas Co., Ltd. Chubu Gas Co., Ltd. is a city gas company that mainly supplies gas to eastern Aichi Prefecture and western Shizuoka Prefecture, centering on Toyohashi City in Aichi and Hamamatsu City in Shizuoka. With large plants of an automaker and other leading manufacturers in its supply areas, the company has considerable potential to increase sales, particularly of industrial gas. Given that the company depends mainly on wholesale supply of natural gas from Toho Gas Co., Ltd., there are

3 constraints in terms of flexible procurement of the raw material, for example. To purchase the raw material wholesale from Shizuoka Gas Co., Ltd., Chubu Gas is constructing a pipeline connecting Shizuoka and Hamamatsu together with Shizuoka Gas. This pipeline is scheduled to be completed in the second half of Although the pipeline is expected to help diversify supply sources and develop demand, its construction is taking longer than initially envisaged, pushing the total investment amount to approximately 40 billion yen. A challenge facing the company is to recoup the investment by improving its revenue/expenditure through rate revisions and the expansion of large customers. The gas retail market will be fully liberalized, while Chubu Gas relies on wholesale supply of the raw material from the two companies. Even so, it is difficult to anticipate that unit gas prices for its customers will significantly differ from those of the two companies, if wheeling charges are included. At present, a sharp decrease in sales caused by customers switching to other gas suppliers is unlikely, in R&I's view. The primary rating methodologies applied to this rating are provided at "R&I's Basic Methodology for Corporate Credit Ratings", "City Gas (tentative, Japanese text only)" and "R&I's Analytical Approach to Degree of Recovery and Notching Up/Notching Down of Long-term Issue Ratings". The methodologies are available at the web site listed below, together with other rating methodologies that are taken into consideration when assigning the rating. R&I RATINGS: Saibu Gas Co., Ltd. (Sec. Code: 9536) Shelf Registration (Bonds) ISSUE AMOUNT (mn): JPY 50,000 ISSUE PERIOD: From Aug 28, 2014 to Aug 27, 2016 (Preliminary) Oct 22, 2010 Oct 22, 2020 JPY 10,000 Jan 26, 2011 Jan 26, 2017 JPY 10,000 Unsec. Str. Bonds No.11 Issue Date Maturity Date Issue Amount (mn) Jan 25, 2012 Jan 25, 2022 JPY 10,000 Unsec. Str. Bonds No.12 Issue Date Maturity Date Issue Amount (mn) Dec 13, 2013 Dec 13, 2023 JPY 10,000

4 Unsec. Str. Bonds No.13 Issue Date Maturity Date Issue Amount (mn) Apr 14, 2015 Apr 14, 2025 JPY 10,000 ISSUE LIMIT (mn): JPY 50,000 Hokkaido Gas Co., Ltd. (Sec. Code: 9534) Shelf Registration (Bonds) ISSUE AMOUNT (mn): JPY 30,000 ISSUE PERIOD: From Oct 11, 2013 to Oct 10, 2015 (Preliminary) Dec 17, 2007 Dec 20, 2017 JPY 8,000 Dec 22, 2009 Dec 22, 2016 JPY 6,000 Unsec. Str. Bonds No.11 Issue Date Maturity Date Issue Amount (mn) Sep 05, 2011 Sep 03, 2021 JPY 5,000 Unsec. Str. Bonds No.12 Issue Date Maturity Date Issue Amount (mn) Sep 05, 2011 Sep 05, 2018 JPY 5,000 Unsec. Conv. Bonds No.3 Issue Date Maturity Date Issue Amount (mn) Sep 25, 2012 Sep 25, 2017 JPY 5,000 Unsec. Str. Bonds No.13 Issue Date Maturity Date Issue Amount (mn) Dec 19, 2013 Dec 18, 2020 JPY 5,000

5 ISSUE LIMIT (mn): JPY 20,000 Hiroshima Gas Co., Ltd. (Sec. Code: 9535) Unsec. Str. Bonds No.5 Issue Date Maturity Date Issue Amount (mn) Aug 14, 2003 Aug 14, 2015 JPY 3,000 Unsec. Str. Bonds No.7 Issue Date Maturity Date Issue Amount (mn) Mar 03, 2005 Mar 19, 2020 JPY 5,000 Unsec. Str. Bonds No.8 Issue Date Maturity Date Issue Amount (mn) Aug 29, 2008 Aug 29, 2018 JPY 5,000 Dec 20, 2013 Dec 20, 2016 JPY 5,000 Sep 05, 2014 Sep 03, 2021 JPY 5,000 ISSUE LIMIT (mn): JPY 13,000 Chubu Gas Co., Ltd. (Sec. Code: 9540) A-, Affirmed A preliminary rating is assigned when a provisional credit rating is needed for an individual obligation on which final terms have not been determined. A credit rating finally assigned may differ from the preliminary rating depending on, among others, the details of the actual contract of the individual obligation.

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