Standard & Poor’s said the announcement of a proposed merger between health care giants Trinity Health and Catholic Health East does not affect their credit ratings yet, but that a consolidation would likely result in a credit with a weaker rating than Trinity’s AA rating.

S&P maintains an A rating on Catholic Health East.

“At this time, the news of this potential consolidation does not affect our ratings on either Trinity or CHE because the security for the bonds and the obligation groups for both organizations remain unchanged, and because the credit profiles of both organizations remain consistent with the ratings,” the ratings agency said in a brief report.

The systems plan to conduct due diligence on the proposal and make a decision by spring, 2013.

“Although we have not yet reviewed a forecast of the combined organization, it is our opinion that a consolidation of Trinity and CHE would result in a new organization with a weaker credit profile than Trinity currently demonstrates from a strictly numerical standpoint, and a stronger organization than CHE’s current metrics demonstrate,” analysts said.

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