NEW YORK - Standard & Poor's has assigned ratings to three loans for a total of $1.4 billion, using the new rating scale developed to serve bank loans.

The rating agency assigned a BLR 3 rating to Elsag Bailey Process Automation NV's $200 million bank loan facility, a BLR 4 to drug store chain Eckerd Corp.'s $850 million facility, and a BLR 5 to supermarket chain Pathmark Stores Inc.'s $339 million facility. The ratings range from 1 to 10, with 1 being the highest.

The agency introduced the rating system last month saying it would provide a better framework for pricing, credit allocation, and securitization of loans.

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