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EQUITABLE RESOURCES 'AA-' RATED DEBENTURES AFFIRMED BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 EQUITABLE RESOURCES 'AA-' RATED DEBENTURES AFFIRMED BY FITCH
 -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --
 NEW YORK, Sept. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Equitable Resources, Inc.'s $227 million debentures are affirmed at 'AA-'. The credit trend is stable.
 Equitable's financial results have been consistent despite periods of weak energy prices and the unfavorable impact of warm weather on natural gas demand.
 While earnings from energy operations softened in 1991 and through 1992's first quarter, improved performance from regulated operations helped balance consolidated results. However, credit measures weakened with the 1991 debt-financed acquisition of oil and gas properties totaling $139 million. At 45 percent, debt to capital exceeds the company's historic conservative 60/40 equity-to-debt ratio. Likewise, increasing interest expense signals an anticipated decline in pretax interest coverage to under 3.0 times (x) for year-end 1992, down from about 3.5x in 1991.
 Interest coverage and equity ratios will move below levels commensurate with the rating category. Given the company's strong earnings potential, increasing operating flexibility, and manageable capital requirements, Fitch expects credit measures to return to prior levels, which should be reflected in 1993 results.
 Future performance should be enhanced by efforts to expand geographically and diversify energy and utility operations. Equitable's two major business segments, utility services and energy resources, should perform well over the next several years. In the near future, higher levels of gas and oil production and increased sales from the gas marketing subsidiary should result in an increasing contribution to earnings from the energy resources segment. Stronger energy prices would further boost upside performance. Utility operations, hampered by warm weather and a weak economy, should demonstrate moderate gains in throughput going forward. Additionally, Fitch believes Equitable has the strategic operating characteristics to benefit under a post-Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Rule 636/636A competitive environment.
 -0- 9/16/92
 /CONTACT: Ralph Pellecchia of Fitch, 212-908-0586/
 (EQT) CO: Equitable Resources, Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: OIL SU: RTG


PS -- NY026 -- 0037 09/16/92 10:50 EDT
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Date:Sep 16, 1992
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