Standard & Poor’s last week lifted the credit on the BloodCenter of Wisconsin Inc. to A-minus from BBB-plus, citing its strong operating performance, which provides good debt service coverage and solid liquidity. The upgrade affects about $10.5 million of revenue bonds sold in 2004 through the Wisconsin Health and Educational Facilities Authority. The center changed its name from the Blood Center of Southeastern Wisconsin Inc. in 2005. “BCW’s operating results are consistently balanced, and it experienced solid maximum annual debt service coverage of more than six times in 2006,” analyst Susan Carlson wrote. “The center’s sound liquidity, which equals 72% of operating expenses and 324% of outstanding debt, also supports the rating.”The payment of debt service on the bonds is an unconditional obligation of the obligated group, which consists of BCW and the Blood Center Research Foundation. Proceeds of the 2004 issue helped finance a five-year $25 million facilities plan. Most are complete or will be in 2008.The more than 61-year-old Wisconsin center that serves the Milwaukee area is unique among blood collection and distribution centers across the country due to its affiliation with a research arm that maintains a more than $30 million endowment. That trait sets the blood center on par with cultural or endowed institutions that make up the nontraditional 501(c)(3) sector with investment-grade ratings, according to Carlson. Standard & Poor’s is the only credit agency torate the blood center.

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