Best Assigns Platinum ‘bbb+’ Indicative Ratings

March 25, 2004

A.M. Best Co. announced that it has assigned indicative ratings of “bbb+” senior debt, “bbb” subordinated debt and “bbb-” preferred stock to Platinum Underwriters Holdings, Ltd.’s recently filed $750 million universal shelf offering (See IJ Web site Mar. 24).

Best also said it has “affirmed the ‘bbb+’ rating of the group’s equity security units issued by Platinum Underwriters Finance, Inc. (Delaware) and guaranteed by Platinum. The ‘A’ (Excellent) financial strength ratings of Platinum’s reinsurance operating companies are unaffected by this action.” All the ratings have a “stable” outlook.

“Net proceeds from any issuance of these securities may be used by Platinum for general corporate purposes, including working capital, capital expenditures, share repurchase programs and acquisitions,” said Best. “To the extent Platinum issues securities under this shelf registration, A.M. Best would expect the company to maintain its financial leverage in the mid 20 percent range and to achieve fixed charge coverage in the high single digit range.”

The rating agency also noted that the shelf filing includes the registration of common shares beneficially owned by The St. Paul Companies (St. Paul, MN) and RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. (Bermuda). “Any sale of these shares would not result in additional capital to Platinum but would instead replace the ownership interest of these investors.”

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