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DUKE POWER $200 MILLION SENIOR DEBT RATED 'AA' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 NEW YORK, Feb. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Duke Power Co.'s new $200 million first and refunding mortgage bonds are rated AA' by Fitch. The new issue includes $125 million 6-3/8 period bonds due March 1, 2008, and $75 million 5-7/8 percent bonds due March 1, 2003. The credit trend is stable.
 The ratings reflect a well-managed capital structure, solid generating diversity (61 percent nuclear, 37 percent coal, and 2 percent hydro and other), and constructive regulatory environment. Financial performance in 1992 was adversely impacted by higher operating and maintenance expenses, and a one-time rate refund of about $90 million pre-tax. For the year ended Dec. 31, 1992, SEC fixed charge coverage was 3.48 times(x), compared to 3.85x the prior year. Excluding the one-time charge, SEC fixed charge coverage was a healthy 3.9x.
 Over the next several years, higher construction expenditures and a related rise in external financing requirements will exert pressure on credit quality measures. Forecasted expenditures are designated for a plant modernization program and, beginning in 1995, the replacement of the steam generators at the McGuire and Catawba nuclear units, and construction of 16 combustion turbines between 1995 and 1997. The expenditures will increase the company's net plant investment by about 10 percent annually. No new base load capacity is currently planned nor anticipated in the 1990s.
 -0- 2/25/93
 /CONTACT: Robert Hornick of Fitch, 212-908-0564/
 (DUK)


CO: Duke Power Co. ST: North Carolina IN: UTI SU: RTG

CK -- NY025 -- 0296 02/25/93 10:16 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 25, 1993
Words:254
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