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WESTERN RESOURCES, KANSAS G&E FIRST MORTGAGE SHELVES 'A-' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 WESTERN RESOURCES, KANSAS G&E FIRST MORTGAGE SHELVES 'A-' BY FITCH
 -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --
 NEW YORK, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Western Resources, Inc.'s (WR) $100 million shelf registration of first mortgage bonds and Kansas Gas & Electric Co.'s separate $200 million first mortgage bond shelf are rated 'A-' by Fitch.
 Ratings for this recently merged utility reflect strong cash flow and operational synergies that should permit gradual but steady improvement of its highly leveraged consolidated balance sheet and relatively weak coverage ratios. Debt leverage was 60 percent and pre- tax interest coverage was 2.3 times(x) at June 30, 1992. Capital expenditures over the next five years are expected to be over 100 percent funded with internally generated cash. In addition, merger related operational synergies are expected to result in cost savings of about $180 million over the next five years.
 Integration of the operations of both companies has already begun with such functions as meter reading, dispatching, billing, consolidating service centers and personnel, and integrating corporate headquarters functions. On a consolidated basis, Western Resources has 5,000 employees, down from 6,000 employees two years ago. The stronger transmission network of the combined system should also provide off- system sales opportunities.
 Rating stability is anticipated with upside potential limited by the high debt leverage (including lease obligations) and Western Resources' ability to successfully own a nuclear plant. Downside risk is limited by minimal acid rain exposure, strong transmission, a good fuel supply, and healthy cash flow. Management's commitment to strengthen the balance sheet also limits risk.
 -0- 10/28/92
 /CONTACT: Ed King of Fitch, 212-908-0574/
 (WR) CO: Western Resources, Inc.; Kansas Gas & Electric Co. ST: Kansas IN: UTI SU: RTG


KD -- NY122 -- 6244 10/28/92 16:53 EST
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Date:Oct 28, 1992
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