Cooper University Health Care received welcome news Friday, when its credit rating was upgraded by Moody’s Investor Service from Baa1 to A3 — its highest rating ever.
The announcement comes on the heels of a November upgrade from S&P Global Ratings to A-.
“The upgrade to A3 reflects our expectation that operating margins will be maintained at current levels and allow for maintenance of good liquidity metrics even in light of increasing capital spend,” Moody’s wrote. “The A3 also incorporates the system’s robust debt metrics and expectations that these stronger levels will be maintained.”
The upgrades come amid a string of high-profile developments for Cooper, a 2022 NJBIZ Company to Watch, which has included the September announcement of a $2 billion expansion project in Camden and last month’s signing of a Letter of Intent to merge with Cape Regional Health System.
Moody’s noted that this rating did not take into consideration that proposed merger but will continue to evaluate the impact of it on Cooper’s rating as it progresses.
“We expect Cooper will continue to be a leading provider of tertiary and quaternary services for the southern New Jersey market,” Moody’s added. “The system’s strong brand equity will be further broadened through key partnerships such as Cooper’s cancer care agreement with nationally recognized MD Anderson, growth of its ambulatory footprint and its role as the primary teaching site for Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.”
In a statement, George Norcross, chairman of the board of trustees of Cooper University Health Care, said this upgrade speaks to the remarkable turnaround Cooper has made from near bankruptcy at the turn of the century to today’s strong financial position.
“This achievement is a testament to the commitment to the thousands of Cooper team members who work, day and night, to provide the best health care to our patients,” said Norcross.
“Cooper has grown into an elite, nationally recognized academic health system with patients from all 50 states and more than 35 countries,” said Kevin O’Dowd, co-CEO of Cooper University Health Care. “Today’s credit rating upgrade is validation of Cooper’s financial strength, our prudent growth strategies, and the tremendous work by our dedicated team members who tirelessly serve our patients, their families, and each other to produce our current and future success.”
“This credit rating upgrade confirms our strategy to focus on becoming an exceptional academic health system and managing our finances in a way that allows us to continue to grow to meet increasing demand from patients seeking the higher level of care our experts provide,” said Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli, co-CEO of Cooper University Health Care.