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Moody's downgrades Dobson and subsidiaries

NEW YORK-Moody’s Investor Services downgraded its ratings of Dobson Communications Corp. and its subsidiaries following the carrier’s “poor financial performance” during the fourth quarter of 2003 and management guidance for continued weak performance in 2004, which Moody’s noted would “considerably reduce the company’s financial flexibility.”

Moody’s cited Dobson’s reported drop in roaming traffic it receives from its largest roaming partner AT&T Wireless Services Inc., and lower-than-expected customer growth and average revenue per user. In addition, Moody’s said covenants in the Dobson Cellular System secured credit facility were likely to require amendment this year that could further limit the subsidiary’s ability to “upstream funds” to Dobson to meet its own financial obligations.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services cited similar concerns in a report earlier this week and said it may cut its rating on Dobson and its subsidiaries.


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