Fitch: As acquisitions continue, healthcare leverage increases

While health insurers inch closer to completing acquisitions, U.S. healthcare companies have seen an increase in leverage, according to Fitch Ratings' "High-Yield Healthcare Checkup Handbook."

The handbook examines the profiles of the 21 largest high yield debt issuers in the U.S. healthcare industry. Within this sample, median leverage increased to 5.0 from 4.7 at this time last year. Fitch expects median leverage will rise to 5.2 by the end of 2016.

"Deleveraging won't likely be a major focus of cash deployment this year as high-yield healthcare companies see more bang for their buck in acquisitions and shareholder payouts," said Fitch Managing Director Megan Neuburger.

In addition, Fitch predicts that among its sample issuers, revenue will increase 5.6 percent and EBITDA will grow 4.7 percent.

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