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Fitch upgrades Healthcare Realty Trust's issuer default rating

Fitch Ratings upgraded its long-term issuer default rating on Healthcare Realty Trust Inc. to BBB+, with a stable outlook.

The rating agency said the action factored in the healthcare real estate investment trust's stable operating cash flows, thanks to its robust financial metrics and geographically diversified medical office building portfolio.

Fitch expects the REIT's leverage, specifically its net debt to recurring operating EBITDA, to stay in the 5.0x-5.5x range over the forecast horizon.

The rating agency noted that the company's strengths are partially offset by its view that Healthcare Realty has "good but less established access to capital" as is typically seen with other BBB+ category healthcare REITs.

While the company has improved its dividend payout ratio, "it remains in the low- to mid-90% range, resulting in minimal cash flow retention," according to Fitch.