MCI Worldcom Inc.'s announcement of a $2.9 billion loss for the third quarter should not shake the bank group that lent the company $12 billion this year, an analyst said.

Tim Caffrey, a telecommunications loan analyst with Standard & Poor's Corp., said lenders should be buoyed by the fact MCI Worldcom continues to take market share away from competitors, including AT&T Corp.

He said it was a one-time, merger-related loss that was "pretty much in line with what we expected. The good news is that they've got pretty good growth in the right places."

Mr. Caffrey said he sees the combination of MCI Communications and Worldcom Inc. showing its potential as a profit machine that competitors will find "hard to deal with." Without the merger expense, the Jackson, Miss., company would have earned $268 million.

The $12 billion loan package, structured and syndicated in July, was related to Worldcom's $45.8 billion acquisition of MCI. It was the biggest syndicated loan package of the year, though $5 billion of it was a refinancing of a 1997 term loan to Worldcom.

NationsBank Corp. was lead arranger on the deal, which included six banks as top-tier investors at $750 million and a total of 83 investors. The deal was coupled with the largest corporate bond issuance in history, a $6.1 billion deal led by Salomon Smith Barney Inc. on Aug. 6.

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