As Northern said, WNR could be a candidate for a merger. In my mind, the S&P upgrade simply underscores that fact.
WNR could be acquired by a Valero type. Or WNR could acquire something on its own to increase its diversity and scope. Or WNR could simply stay like it is and be a true money making machine for its shareholders, the largest group of which are those folks that run the company.
In any event, here is a summary of the upgrade. Click on the link and read the entire press release if you can, as it is very interesting:
"Overview -- U.S. refining company Western Refining has paid down a considerable amount of its debt since 2010. We expect leverage to be below 1x for 2012. -- We are raising our corporate credit rating to 'B+' from 'B'. We are also raising the ratings on the senior secured debt to 'BB' and ratings on the unsecured convertible issue to 'B+'. -- The stable outlook reflects our expectation that the company will continue to maintain the current level of debt while keeping a base level of cash flow even in mid-cycle conditions."
here is a snipit from Wikipedia about S&P debt rating:
"Non-Investment Grade (also known as junk bonds)
BB: An obligor rated 'BB' is less vulnerable in the near term than other lower-rated obligors. However, it faces major ongoing uncertainties and exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic conditions, which could lead to the obligor's inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitments.
B: An obligor rated 'B' is more vulnerable than the obligors rated 'BB', but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitments. Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor's capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitments.
CCC: An obligor rated 'CCC' is currently vulnerable, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions to meet its financial commitments.
CC: An obligor rated 'CC' is currently highly vulnerable.
C: highly vulnerable, perhaps in bankruptcy or in arrears but still continuing to pay out on obligations