Firm Gets Non-Investment Rating

Standard & Poor's Corp., the New York-based debt-rating agency, has assigned a non-investment grade rating of BB+ to Nationwide Health Properties Inc.'s $50-million senior subordinated convertible debenture. This means that the company debt is considered speculative, or the quality of so-called junk bonds.

While there is less likelihood of default than with other speculative bonds, S&P; said Nationwide Health of Newport Beach faces ongoing uncertainties--including a sudden drop in demand for its services--that could lead to its inability to meet interest and principal payments.

The rating agency said proceeds from the subordinated debentures will be used to reduce the company's debts and for property acquisitions for the health-care real estate investment trust, which owns 111 long-term care facilities and a rehabilitation hospital in 24 states.

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