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Rating Action:

Moody's Upgrades and Assigns A2 to Woman's Hospital Foundation (LA) Series 2017A&B; Outlook Stable

15 May 2017

New York, May 15, 2017 -- Issue: Hospital Refunding Revenue Bonds (Woman's Hospital Foundation Project) Series 2017A; Rating: A2; Rating Type: Underlying LT; Sale Amount: $231,045,000; Expected Sale Date: 06/28/2017; Rating Description: Revenue: Other;

Issue: Taxable Hospital Refunding Revenue Bonds (Woman's Hospital Foundation Project) Series 2017B; Rating: A2; Rating Type: Underlying LT; Sale Amount: $19,840,000; Expected Sale Date: 06/28/2017; Rating Description: Revenue: Other;

Summary Rating Rationale

Moody's Investors Service assigns an A2 rating to Woman's Hospital Foundation, LA's (WHF) $250.5 million of Hospital Refunding Revenue Bonds (Woman's Hospital Foundation Project) Series 2017A & Taxable Hospital Refunding Revenue Bonds (Woman's Hospital Foundation Project) Series 2017B bonds to be issued through the Louisiana Local Government Environmental Facilities and Community Development Authority. The bonds are fixed rate and expected to mature in 2044 and 2022, respectively. At this time we also upgrading WHF's outstanding rated debt ($255 million) to A2 from A3. The outlook remains stable at the higher rating level.

The upgrade and assignment of the A2 rating reflects the system's strong statewide presence as a leading provider of women's and infant services and strong brand equity, resulting in a high market capture of newborn deliveries in the Baton Rouge service area. The upgrade also acknowledges the system's multiyear improvement in liquidity and leverage metrics following the issuance of the Series 2010 bonds. The upgrade further incorporates the system's conservative asset allocation and debt structure which includes the absence of a defined benefit plan and debt derivatives, maintenance of strong operating performance, and savings related to the Series 2017A&B refunding.

Woman's continues to carry a high debt burden resulting in high leverage of its operations and balance sheet and leaving little room for any financial deviations. While well recognized for its services, Woman's service array is concentrated with a high Medicaid load of 38% which is also viewed as a credit risk compared to full service providers.

Rating Outlook

The stable outlook reflects our expectations that the system will continue to generate strong operating performance and maintain a very healthy liquidity position in order to support the high amount of direct debt. Additionally, the stable outlook incorporates a plan to continue to pay down direct debt, improve leverage metrics and the absence of large future capital needs or incremental debt in the near term.

Factors that Could Lead to an Upgrade

Significant improvement in leverage metrics more in line with A1 medians

Maintenance of liquidity and operational performance in order to support the large debt burden

Factors that Could Lead to a Downgrade

Increase in debt

Significant reduction in liquidity or financial performance or unfavorable changes in Medicaid payments

Acquisition or affiliation that is materially dilutive to the balance sheet or operating performance

Reduction in market share

Legal Security

The Series 2017A&B bonds are secured, subject to certain limitations, by a grant of security interest in the receipts of the Woman's Hospital Foundation. With the revision of the Master Trust Indenture the system is expecting to remove the security provision of a mortgage lien on certain properties of the WHF which includes the hospital and land upon which it is situated. The revision of the MTI will also remove the debt service reserve fund.

Use of Proceeds

The Series 2017A tax exempt bonds will be used to refund the outstanding Series 2010A bonds and pay the costs of issuance. The Series 2017B taxable bonds will refund the 2010B GO Zone bonds and pay cost of issuance. Both the Series 2010A and 2010B bonds were issued to fund the $350 million replacement campus that opened in August 2012.

Obligor Profile

Woman's Hospital Foundation is an 168 adult licensed bed, 122 bassinet, and 84 bed NICU facility that specializes in obstetric, gynecological, breast, newborn and neonatal services for women and infants in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas. WHF is the only independent, non-profit women's hospital in the country with the 17th largest obstetric service in the nation. The system operates one of nine level three regional neonatal intensive care units within the state of Louisiana.

Methodology

The principal methodology used in this rating was Not-For-Profit Healthcare Rating Methodology published in November 2015. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

Regulatory Disclosures

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Meredith Moore
Lead Analyst
PF Healthcare
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street
New York 10007
US
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Lisa Goldstein
Additional Contact
PF Healthcare
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

No Related Data.
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