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Rating Action:

MOODY'S ASSIGNS (P)Ba3 RATING TO PROPOSED SENIOR SUB NOTES OF FISHER SCIENTIFIC; FISHER'S RATINGS REMAIN ON REVIEW FOR POSSIBLE UPGRADE AND RATINGS OF APOGENT REMAIN ON REVIEW FOR POSSIBLE DOWNGRADE

21 Jul 2004
MOODY'S ASSIGNS (P)Ba3 RATING TO PROPOSED SENIOR SUB NOTES OF FISHER SCIENTIFIC; FISHER'S RATINGS REMAIN ON REVIEW FOR POSSIBLE UPGRADE AND RATINGS OF APOGENT REMAIN ON REVIEW FOR POSSIBLE DOWNGRADE

Approximately $250 Million of New Debt Securities Rated

New York, July 21, 2004 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned a (P)Ba3 rating to Fisher Scientific International Inc.'s (Fisher) proposed $250 million of senior subordinated notes due 2014 that will be used primarily to tender for Apogent's 6.5% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2013. While Fisher's (Ba3 senior implied) existing ratings remain on review for possible upgrade, Moody's expects that they will move up by one level upon completion of the proposed merger in early August 2004. Moody's now also expects that Fisher's existing senior unsecured rating, issuer rating and senior subordinated debt rating will each move up by two levels upon completion of the proposed merger. (see list below).

The reasons supporting improved ratings include the following: The bulk of the debt is at a single entity in the Fisher capital structure and the senior implied rating is well placed in the Ba2 rating category. Finally, when looking at Fisher/Apogent on an enterprise value basis relative to the company's pro forma total debt, Moody's believes that there is likely to be more than adequate coverage. Moody's notes that there is still likely to be negative or low tangible net worth on an ongoing basis, but believes that an evaluation of enterprise value is a more useful measure at the Ba2 senior implied level. For these reasons the rating compression is warranted and will likely occur upon completion of the merger.

Apogent Technologies Inc.'s (Ba1 senior implied) ratings remain on review for possible downgrade. The ultimate structure for the Apogent securities remains unclear but it is unlikely that any security would be rated higher than Fisher's prospective Ba2 senior implied rating. Moody's review of Apogent's ratings will also consider the extent to which Apogent's operations will be merged into Fisher's organizational structure, the position of Apogent's debt in the new capital structure, and an evaluation of any support mechanisms related to Apogent's debt. For these reasons Apogent's ratings will not be decided until more details are known.

Prospective Rating Assigned

Fisher Scientific International Inc. --

(P) Ba3 $250 million Senior Subordinated Notes due 2014

Prospective Ratings

Fisher Scientific International Inc. --

(P) Ba2 $500 million Senior Secured Guaranteed Revolver due 2009

(P) Ba2 $250 million Senior Secured Guaranteed US Dollar Term Loan A due 2009

(P) Ba2 $150 million Senior Secured Guaranteed US Dollar Term Loan B due 2011

(P) Ba2 $300 million Senior Secured Delayed-Draw US Dollar Term Loan A due 2009

Ratings remaining under review for possible upgrade:

Fisher Scientific International Inc. --

Ba3 senior implied rating, would likely move to Ba2

B1 issuer rating, would likely move to Ba2

Ba3 $190 million guaranteed senior secured revolving credit facility due 3/31/2008, would likely be withdrawn

Ba3 $440 million guaranteed senior secured tranche C term loan due 03/31/2010, would likely be withdrawn

B1 $ .4 million 7.125% senior notes due 12/15/2005, would likely move to Ba2

B1 $300 million 2.50% senior unsecured convertible notes due 2023, would likely move to Ba2

B2 $304 million 8.125% senior subordinated notes due 2012, would likely move to Ba3

B2 $300 million 8% senior subordinated notes due 2013, would likely move to Ba3

B2 $300 million 3.25% senior subordinated convertible notes due 2024, would likely move to Ba3

Ratings remaining under review for possible downgrade:

Apogent Technologies Inc. --

Ba1 senior implied

Ba1 issuer rating

Ba1 $300 million senior convertible contingent notes due 2021

Ba1 $345 million senior convertible contingent notes due 2033

Ba2 $250 million senior subordinated notes due 2013, would likely be withdrawn

Fisher Scientific International, Inc., based in Hampton, New Hampshire, distributes and manufactures an array of products to the scientific research, clinical laboratory and industrial safety markets, both domestic and international. Revenues in 2003 were approximately $3.5 billion.

Headquartered in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Apogent Technologies manufactures and markets laboratory and life science products used in healthcare diagnostics and scientific research.

New York
Patrick Finnegan
Managing Director
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

New York
William Reed
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

No Related Data.
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