S&P Upgrades CaroMont Health's Bond Rating

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 Corporate News J E 4

GASTONIA, N.C., July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- CaroMont Health announced today that Standard & Poor's (S&P), one of the four major rating agencies in the country, upgraded the NC Medical Care Commission's $106.5 million Series 2008 hospital revenue bonds and $119.4 million Series 2003 bonds to 'AA-' from 'A+', both of which were issued for CaroMont. S&P also affirmed its 'AAA/A-1' rating on CaroMont's Series 2003 bonds and confirmed its outlook on CaroMont to be "stable."

"The upgrade is based on our assessment of CaroMont's continued strong financial performance, attractive facilities with limited capital needs, and management's proactive approach to changes in the health care industry including health reform, which should position the organization well for continued credit strength," commented S&P's credit analyst Liz Sweeney. Ms. Sweeney continued, "The 'AA-' rating reflects our view of the hospital's strong business position with an approximately 70% market share within its primary market, Gaston County, and very solid liquidity. Also supporting the rating is CaroMont's robust investment in the plant over the years, resulting in an attractive facility and limited capital needs."

The practical effect of this upgrade is that CaroMont Health will be able to borrow more money at lower interest rates and with fewer restrictions for capital projects as they arise. S&P's ratings range from AAA for its safest investments, to D for highest-risk investments. Out of the more than 400 stand-alone rated hospitals in America, roughly 30 fall into the AA category or higher. This ratings upgrade puts CaroMont Health among the top 8% of rated stand-alone hospitals in the country.

"The rating upgrade from Standard & Poor's is an important step for CaroMont Health, especially in these very challenging economic times," says Valinda Rutledge, President and Chief Executive Officer of CaroMont Health. "Not only will this higher bond rating reduce our interest rates, but it is a strong affirmation of our strategic direction and excellent financial performance. It also reflects our board of directors' outstanding leadership and the strength of commitment to our vision, which is to be a nationally-recognized leader and a valued partner in promoting individual health and vibrant communities."

About CaroMont Health.  CaroMont Health System encompasses Gaston Memorial Hospital with 435-beds; Courtland Terrace, a 96-bed skilled nursing facility; Gaston Hospice, which includes the 12-bed Robin Johnson House inpatient facility; and CaroMont Medical Group, a network of 44 primary and specialty physician offices.  

SOURCE CaroMont Health



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