United States-based credit rating agency Standard & Poor's yesterday affirmed the BBB-plus long-term corporate credit rating of Wharf (Holdings), while removing it from CreditWatch. But the outlook on Wharf's rating was negative, the agency said in a statement. The affirmation 'takes into account' Wharf's large recurring income base from property investment activities and terminal and warehousing operations, Standard & Poor's said. Both of these businesses had shown an 'above-average capacity to weather current economic difficulties', it said. 'Cash flows from these operations should be more than sufficient to cover interest expenses, while providing the company with a degree of operating flexibility in its other, less stable businesses during the current downturn.' The affirmation anticipated Wharf's total debt to capital would stay below 30 per cent for the next two years, the agency said. S&P said that it also reflected Wharf management's heightened commitment to scaling back on capital spending. However, the rating agency warned that falling asset values could continue to have an impact on Wharf's gearing, increasing its ratio of debt to capital.