Moody’s affirmed its A1 insurance financial strength and A2 senior debt ratings on the Winterthur Insurance Group (A1 insurance financial strength at Winterthur Swiss Insurance Company, A2 debt rating at Winterthur Capital). Negative outlooks continue to apply to both ratings due to the negative outlook on its parent, Credit Suisse Group, and its bank operating subsidiaries as well as the on-going challenges of transferring Winterthur’s business into a lower risk profile and restoring profitability.
The ratings affirmation follows the announcement by Winterthur of the agreed sale of its UK-based Churchill insurance business to the Royal Bank of Scotland Group for a total consideration of approximately GBP1.1 billion. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to be completed in Q3 2003 and represents an important step toward improving Winterthur’s capital position and reducing the Group’s overall risk profile.
Moody’s commented that the Churchill Group had historically been a relatively significant part of the Winterthur Group’s non-life earnings, and that the sale of this business would therefore reduce the Group’s future earnings capacity.
More positively, the substantial gain realised as part of the transaction is expected to remain within Winterthur and to significantly strengthen the Group’s capitalisation position. In terms of capital requirements, Moody’s noted that Churchill had recently shown strong growth rates, and that the removal of this growth funding requirement would mitigate the Group’s capital needs in future.
The following ratings were affirmed with a negative outlook Winterthur Swiss Insurance Company A1 insurance financial strength Winterthur Capital Ltd A2 senior debt.
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