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LOS ANGELES COUNTY (CALIF.) COPS RATED 'A+' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 LOS ANGELES COUNTY (CALIF.) COPS RATED 'A+' BY FITCH
 -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --
 NEW YORK, May 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Los Angeles County, Calif.'s $72.1 million Certificates of Participation (Edmund D. Edelman Children's Court and Peterson Museum Projects) are rated 'A+' by Fitch. The certificates will be offered through negotiation by a syndicate led by Smith Barney during the week of June 2. The credit trend is stable. This is the first time the county has requested a Fitch rating.
 The Los Angeles area's economy is vast and diverse, factors that will play a major role in its restructuring out of the current weakness. With a population nearing nine million and larger than 42 states, and with a gross output that would rank twelfth in the world if it were a nation, the county's potential for future development is high. The current economic weakness, caused by the national recession and continued decline in aerospace manufacturing as a result of defense spending cutbacks, has been severe, and recovery will likely be slow. Future development will focus on the county's foreign trade, with entertainment and tourism providing strong underpinnings. The presence of very high wealth areas and the continued population growth enhance the county's ability to maintain healthy retail trade and service sectors. The recent riots undoubtedly hurt the county's image and could hinder future economic development. In contrast, the focus on the area's problems and the financial assistance to be provided could greatly benefit the county in the long run.
 Historical financial operations have been sound, aided by strong fiscal management, consistently ending with an adequate fund balance. Despite ongoing pressures to make revenues meet growing expenditures, and uncertainty surrounding state funding, the county has run general fund operating surpluses in four of the last five years. Another operating surplus is expected for fiscal 1992. The unreserved ending fund balance has been reasonable, consistently equaling about 3% of operating expenditures. Financial pressures will continue, though the sound historic results indicate that the county's proven fiscal management will continue.
 The current debt burden is low, despite regular issuance, primarily lease transactions. The county has a board approved debt management policy that should keep issuance to affordable levels. Capital needs are substantial, including a replacement of the county's largest medical center.
 Bond counsel has opined that this transaction is a valid and binding county obligation that does not constitute debt under any constitutional limitation. Bond counsel also is disclosing in the official statement that it expresses no opinion as to the outcome or effect of the pending litigation involving the Richmond School District.
 -0- 5/27/92
 /CONTACT: Amy S. Doppelt of Fitch, 212-908-0514/ CO: Los Angeles County ST: California IN: SU: RTG


PS -- NY070 -- 4394 05/27/92 16:11 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 27, 1992
Words:458
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