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LOEWS CORPORATION $1 BILLION SHELF SENIOR DEBT RATED 'AA' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 NEW YORK, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Loews Corp.'s $700 million shelf registration filed today is rated 'AA' by Fitch. Its existing $300 million shelf is also rated 'AA'. Loews' outstanding 'AA' senior and 'AA-' subordinated debt are affirmed. The credit trend is stable.
 The ratings are based on Loews' superior liquidity, enhanced by significant off balance sheet assets and very strong and stable free cash flow from operations from a diverse mix of businesses. Concerns include exposure to potential tobacco litigation through the Lorillard Tobacco subsidiary and eroding profitability due to the growth of discount cigarettes. Litigation expenses are another concern as a unit of CNA Financial Corp., which is 83 percent owned by Loews, recently announced a $1.5 billion asbestos-related charge.
 As of December 31, excluding investments of CNA Financial, Loews had a net cash position of $500 million. This is further enhanced by its investment in CBS Inc., with a market value of $570 million, and a $211 million LIFO inventory reserve for a net adjusted cash position of approximately $1.3 billion.
 Loews' annual operating cash flow of approximately $600 million provides more than 4 times coverage of its annual dividends and capital expenditures requirements. Loews used some of its $450 million free cash flow for treasury stock purchases and invested the balance in marketable securities or strategic acquisitions.
 Lorillard, the fourth largest domestic tobacco company, does not have a significant presence in the growing discount sector. However, its leading brand Newport, which accounts for 75 percent of sales, was the only premium brand to increase volume in 1992 without material discounting.
 CNA Financial's wholly-owned unit, Continental Casualty Co., added $1.5 billion to reserves for asbestos-related bodily injury cases during the fourth quarter. This resulted in a $330 million 1992 net loss at CNA Financial.
 The addition had a substantial impact on Continental Casualty's statutory surplus, which decreased by 20 percent to $3.1 billion, increasing operating leverage. Although the reserve increase is substantial, Continental expects to restore its capital to levels before the charge through the sale of fixed-income securities carrying an unrealized gain of $700 million. If additional capital is needed to support premium growth or an increase in the reserve, CNA Financial's flexibility provides adequate support, thereby reducing the risk that a capital call would be made on Loews Corp.
 -0- 3/31/93
 /CONTACT: Thomas W. Hoens, 212-908-0569, or Lygia X. Campbell, 212-908-0500, both of Fitch/
 (LTR)


CO: Loews Corp. ST: New York IN: SU: RTG

LD -- NY074 -- 1705 03/31/93 17:06 EST
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Date:Mar 31, 1993
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