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LACLEDE GAS $40 MILLION FIRST MORTGAGE BONDS RATED 'AA-' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 LACLEDE GAS $40 MILLION FIRST MORTGAGE BONDS RATED 'AA-' BY FITCH
 -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --
 NEW YORK, Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Laclede Gas Co.'s proposed $40 million first mortgage bonds are rated 'AA-' by Fitch. The 'AA-' rating on the company's outstanding first mortgage bonds is affirmed. The new issue is a shelf registration takedown. The credit trend is stable.
 The ratings reflect Fitch's expectation of a recovery in Laclede's financial protection measures following weather related weakening. Positives include long-term operational and financial benefits from ongoing system expansion, a stable service territory, and balanced Missouri PSC regulation. A combination of eight consecutive warm winters, a recessionary economy, and temporary above average system spending has weakened financial performance. While the June 30, 1992 balance sheet remains relatively conservative at 56 percent equity and 44 percent debt, pre-tax interest coverage has dropped to 2.8 times (x) from above 4.0x in the late 1980s.
 A $13.5 million rate increase, effective Sept. 1, 1992, which includes higher monthly customer charges, will immediately impact performance and help moderate the negative effect of warm weather going forward. Continued expansion of the gas distribution system in Franklin County, Mo. signals healthy customer growth. Given a return to near to normal weather conditions, Fitch expects a gradual strengthening of credit measures.
 -0- 10/21/92
 /CONTACT: Ralph Pellecchia of Fitch, 212-908-0586/
 (LG) CO: Laclede Gas Co. ST: Missouri IN: OIL SU: RTG


KD -- NY048 -- 2833 10/21/92 11:20 EDT
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Date:Oct 21, 1992
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