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BERKELEY CO. (WV) CITY HOSPITAL 1992 REVENUE BONDS RATED 'A-' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

BERKELEY CO. (WV) CITY HOSPITAL 1992 REVENUE BONDS RATED 'A-' BY FITCH
 -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --
 NEW YORK, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Berkeley County (WV) Building Commission's $23.6 million series 1992 revenue bonds are rated "A-" by Fitch. The credit trend is stable. Bond proceeds will be used to refund outstanding long-term debt and to fund a construction and renovation project. Security for the issue is a revenue pledge of the obligated group, which presently consists of City Hospital and the Gateway Foundation. The issue is expected to be sold through negotiation by Merrill Lynch & Co. during October.
 City Hospital operates 208 beds in Martinsburg, which is in the northeast panhandle of West Virginia. Credit strengths include a capable management team and sound financial operations. Moderate operating losses in 1990 and 1991 were due to specific events which will not have an effect on future cash flows; interim results for the first six months of fiscal 1992 are strong.
 Despite the one-time losses, cash flow was strong. The hospital generated historical pro forma maximum annual debt service (MADS) coverage of 1.8 times(x) in 1991; for the obligated group it was 2.2x. The hospital's liquidity position is sound, with 80 days cash on hand, exclusive of foundation moneys. The foundation maintains $12.4 million in cash and investments, a credit strength. On a combined basis, cash and investments approximate a high 80 percent of pro forma debt. The pro forma debt to capitalization ratio of the hospital alone is a relatively high 58.8 percent, although for the obligated group it is only 44.4 percent. In addition, on a cash flow basis the debt load is moderate, with MADS representing 5.6 percent of hospital revenues. The Medicaid load is high, representing 11 percent of patient revenues.
 With few exceptions, the medical staff admits solely to City Hospital. Physician recruiting is an ongoing priority given the relatively small size of the staff and selected specialty needs, and is considered a credit risk. However, the hospital has adopted a much more focused approach to recruiting over the last few years. Competition is present from a larger facility located about 25 miles away that draws a notable amount of patients from City Hospital's primary service area.
 -0- 9/14/92
 /CONTACT: Michele Cebron of Fitch, 212-908-0591/ CO: Berkeley County Building Commission ST: West Virginia IN: SU: RTG


GK -- NY064 -- 9216 09/14/92 14:42 EDT
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Date:Sep 14, 1992
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