Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services announced that it has assigned its “BBB” counterparty credit and senior debt ratings to Platinum Underwriters Holdings Ltd. and its ‘BBB’ debt rating to the company’s equity security units (ESU’s). S&P explained that the ESU’s “are rated as senior debt, but because of their equity-like characteristics,” they are considered as “hybrid equity.”
The rating agency also assigned its preliminary “BBB” senior debt, preliminary “BBB-” subordinated debt, and preliminary “BB+” preferred stock ratings to Platinum’s universal shelf registration, which was filed in 2004. The outlook on the ratings is stable.
“The ratings are based on Platinum’s strong competitive position, earnings, and capitalization, and highly skilled and experienced personnel,” noted S&P credit analyst Jason Jones. “Partially offsetting these strengths are Platinum’s short tenure as an independent company, relative concentration of U.S. business, property catastrophe risk, and an uncertain environment for the finite risk segment.”
S&P said it expects Platinum’s operating performance “improve in 2005, as rate adequacy remains strong, and on the assumption that higher than average catastrophe losses are not repeated. An overall combined ratio of 91 percent to 94 percent is expected in 2005.”
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