Fitch Lowers $18B in Tobacco Debt Again

Finestone, Deborah
May 2003
Bond Buyer;5/7/2003, Vol. 344 Issue 31630, p1
Trade Publication
Fitch Ratings Inc. on May 7 2003, downgraded for the second time in a month all of its outstanding tobacco settlement securitization ratings, following its simultaneous two-notch downgrade of tobacco industry corporate ratings to BBB-minus. All ratings are removed from Rating Watch Negative where they were placed in late March 2003 after an Illinois judge ordered the nation's largest tobacco manufacturer, Altria Group Inc., to pay a 12 billion dollar appeal bond in a lawsuit brought by smokers of light cigarettes.Fitch also lowered R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., another of the four domestic tobacco manufacturers involved in the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with 46 states.


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