In a long-awaited ratings action, Standard & Poor's on Friday raised the bank loan rating of Worldcom Inc.

Worldcom, which carries $12 billion in bank loans arranged by NationsBank Corp., is expected to close its deal for MCI Communications Corp. within a few weeks, the ratings company said.

Timothy Caffrey, an analyst with Standard & Poor's, said in a report that the decision to raise Worldcom's ratings to BBB-plus reflects "its solid business position in voice, data, and related telecommunications services." Mr. Caffrey also lauded Worldcom's strong cash flow and conservative credit policies.

Standard & Poor's also assigned MCI's $10 billion commercial paper an A2 rating.

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