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Standard & Poor's Ratings Services announced last week that it raised its corporate credit rating on BNSF Railway Co. to A from BBB+.The credit rating firm said BNSF's outlook remains positive. Standard & Poor's also raised the rating on BNSF's senior unsecured debt to A from BBB+ and the rating on its Equipment Trust Certificates to AA from A+, according to a Standard & Poor's press release. The positive outlook reflects the potential for an upgrade based on BNSF's recovery from 2014 operating problems, but could be constrained by the current weakening outlook for demand in the North American rail industry, Standard & Poor's officials said."The upgrade reflects a change in our view of the group status of BNSF to its ultimate parent, Berkshire Hathaway, to strategically important from moderately strategic under our Group Ratings Methodology, reflecting the importance of BNSF to the group's consolidated earnings," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Tatiana Kleiman. Despite the soft market in energy and related weak operating climate, the firm's assessment for North America's freight-rail industry remains favorable.
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