OREANDA-NEWS. Fitch Ratings has placed the following bonds issued by the Maryland Health & Higher Educational Facilities Authority on behalf of Carroll Hospital Center (CHC) on Rating Watch Positive:

--\$58,135,000 revenue bonds, series 2012A;
--\$35,000,000 revenue bonds, series 2006.


The bonds are secured by a lien on all of the obligated group (OG) cash receipts and mortgage granted on most OG facilities.


RATING WATCH POSITIVE: Fitch has placed CHC's bonds on Rating Watch Positive due to the potential positive credit impact to CHC resulting from its potential merger with LifeBridge Health (LBH), which Fitch does not rate. The entities have approved a letter of intent to form a partnership. Fitch expects the transaction to finalize in the second quarter of 2015.


COMPLETION OF PENDING TRANSACTION: Resolution of the Rating Watch will be tied to the completion of the pending transaction and the treatment of CHC's debt post-transaction.


CHC is a 147-bed acute-care hospital located in Westminster, MD, approximately 40 miles northwest of Baltimore. Total consolidated operating revenues, including the hospital and various other smaller subsidiaries, totaled \$286.4 million in fiscal 2014. Fitch considers CHC's disclosure practices to be very good, with quarterly data and annual data (150 days after fiscal year end) posted on EMMA.

LBH is a Maryland not-for-profit, created in 1998 through the merger of Northwest Health System and Sinai Health System. In fiscal 2014 (year ended June 30), LBH generated operating income of \$31.3 million on total operating revenues of \$1.08 billion.

For more information please see Fitch's press release: 'Fitch Affirms Carroll Hospital Center (Maryland) Revs at 'BBB+'; Outlook Stable', dated March 5, 2014.