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Fitch lowers Sherwin-Williams ratings to "A-"

CHICAGO (AP) -- Fitch Ratings on Friday cut Sherwin-Williams Co.'s ratings to "A-" from "A," citing the additional debt and risk related to its pending acquisition of a Mexican paint company.

The credit rating service also removed the Cleveland-based paint company's investment grade ratings from review for possible downgrade. The outlook is stable.

Fitch originally placed Sherwin-Williams' ratings under review in November after it announced plans to buy Consorcio Comex SA de CV in a deal worth about $2.34 billion, including debt.

The deal is expected to close in the later part of the second quarter.

Fitch said the Comex acquisition comes with a significant amount of debt and risk related to the integration of the company into Sherwin-Williams' existing operations.

It noted that while Sherwin-Williams has successfully integrated smaller companies in the past, this deal comes with additional risk, because Comex' larger size and operations in Mexico and Canada.

Sherwin-Williams shares fell 44 cents to $187.96 in afternoon trading.