NEW YORK - Moody's Investors Service said it has upgraded St. Joseph's/Candler Health System, Ga.'s (SJ/C) unenhanced and underlying ratings to A3 from Baa1 on bonds issued through the Savannah Hospital Authority.

The outlook remains stable at the higher rating level. This rating action affects approximately $52 million of rated bonds outstanding.

SJ/C also has approximately $118 million outstanding of variable rate bank loan debt with Regions Bank and TD Bank that is not rated by Moody's.

The upgrade of the rating to A3 from Baa1 and stable outlook reflect SJ/C's continued sound operating margins in a quality and broad service area, SJ/C's improved balance sheet ratios, and Moody's expectation that debt coverage and balance sheet ratios will continue to strengthen. SJ/C faces significant competition in the market from a competitor that has taken inpatient market share recently.

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