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Fitch: U.S. Newspaper Bondholders May Face Heightened Risk.

CHICAGO -- Operational pressures and secular uncertainties have caused U.S. newspaper stocks to come under pressure, which has heightened event risk. The risks associated with these secular pressures will be incremental to the sector's cyclical downside, according to a new report by Fitch Ratings. As a result, Fitch believes that tighter financial credit metrics may be required for certain companies in the industry at given rating levels in order to compensate for these risk factors.

Fitch's new report 'US Newspapers: Heightened Risk in a Downturn' describes the secular pressures by revenue element, provides guidance on Fitch's revised top-line downside case, depicts the increasing weight Fitch places on event risk considerations and examines key covenant features that exist in bank credit facilities and bond indentures for select companies at different positions within the investment grade category. The report also lists and describes a number of key factors that could positively differentiate and potentially insulate certain newspaper companies in this environment.

Fitch will host a teleconference at 11:00 a.m. ET today to discuss this report and other key trends in the U.S. newspaper industry. Interested participants should dial +1-866-838-2053 (U.S./Canada) or +1-904-596-2360 (outside North America). A Q&A session will follow analysts' remarks to cover any related topics or specific companies.

The report is available on the Fitch Ratings web site at www.fitchratings.com.

Fitch's rating definitions and the terms of use of such ratings are available on the agency's public site, www.fitchratings.com. Published ratings, criteria and methodologies are available from this site, at all times. Fitch's code of conduct, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, affiliate firewall, compliance and other relevant policies and procedures are also available from the 'Code of Conduct' section of this site.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:May 4, 2006
Words:291
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