credit gains higher investor rating
About $7.8 billion of the company's debt is raised to investment
grade for the
By Andy Vuong, Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Fitch Ratings announced Monday it has upgraded Qwest's credit to
two notches below investment grade.
The debt-rating agency also upgraded $7.8 billion worth of
Qwest's $14.9 billion in debt to investment grade, the first
time any portion of the Denver-based phone company's debt has
been at that level since July 2002, shortly after former chief
executive Joe Nacchio was forced out.
Fitch, one of three major debt-rating agencies, cited Qwest's
margin improvement, ongoing cost cuts and ability to generate
free cash flow.
"In Fitch's opinion, Qwest's liquidity position is strong and is
supported by existing cash and short-term investments totaling
approximately $1.2 billion," Fitch analysts wrote in a report.
Moody's Investors Service rates Qwest at four levels below
investment grade and has the company on an upgrade watch.
Standard & Poor's rates Qwest at three notches below investment
grade with a positive outlook.
Qwest spokeswoman Diane Reberger said the company was pleased
with Fitch's upgrade.
"We're pleased with the recognition of our efforts to reduce
debt, generate free cash flow and improve operating margins,"
Qwest stock closed Monday at $8.73, up 31 cents.
Staff writer Andy Vuong can
be reached at 303-954-1209 or