S&P downgrades Becton Dickinson

S&P downgrades ratings on Becton Dickinson due to industry pressure

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Thursday lowered some of its ratings on Becton Dickinson & Co. given the industry pressures the medical supply company is facing.

The rating agency lowered Becton's long-term corporate credit rating and issue-level ratings one notch to "A'' from "A+", which still leaves it in investment-grade territory. The outlook is "Stable."

S&P said the multinational company still has a strong business risk profile, with a diverse and large scale business. But the agency said the company faces tough competition in medical technology that is testing its strength.

The rating agency said Becton's financial risk is modest and it expects more limited improvement in credit measures, following a weaker-than-expected performance in fiscal 2012. The Franklin Lakes, N.J.-based company also will likely have to deal with million in costs to upgrade a planning system and a new medical device tax in 2013.

Shares fell 63 cents to $76.98 in late afternoon trading Thursday.

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