Investment-Rating Institutions Renew N.C. Baptist's Strong Bond Ratings
Standard & Poor's and Moody's have both reaffirmed strong bond ratings for North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, a major financial component of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, citing the hospital's current positive focus on integrating management, governance and strategic planning and ongoing financial strength, according to a Wake Forest news release.
Wake Forest Baptist sought the ratings so that the hospital could refinance its current debt and issue fixed-rate bonds totaling $330 million, through the North Carolina Medical Care Commission, according to the release.
S&P gave the bonds an "AA-" rating and Moody’s an "Aa3," both with a "stable outlook." Although both ratings are unchanged from Baptist Hospital's previous debt assignment, Medical Center officials said the renewed ratings are a major vote of confidence during uncertain times for healthcare providers, according to the release.
Moody's cited "new management that brings integration, academic and financial expertise and sense of urgency ... and will redesign a closer integration model" among the organization's component institutions as one of the strengths of the Medical Center. S&P said the hospital was in a "good business position — highlighted by the hospital's regional market draw in the growing and economically favorable Winston-Salem region," according to the release.
Both agencies cited Baptist Hospital's excellent balance sheet, but also noted the need for improved operating performance and clear avenues to improvement, according to the release.
"This will be the first time the hospital has accessed the fixed-rate bond market since 1992," Edward G. Chadwick, the Medical Center's CFO, said in the release. "Through our bond disclosures and various presentations, we were able to 'tell the story' of the Medical Center to the investment community and rating agencies. Our efforts paid off in a strong rating that will help us to fund our capital needs in the foreseeable future."
Read the Wake Forest release on N.C. Baptist Hospital.
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