S&P Keeps NZ’s Simply Insurance on Watch/Positive Pending GE Takeover

May 3, 2006

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services announced that its “B” insurer financial strength rating on Simply Insurance New Zealand Ltd. remains on CreditWatch with positive implications, where it was placed on Jan. 31, 2006, when global financial institution GE Finance and Insurance (GEFI), majority owned by General Electric Capital Corp. (AAA/Stable/A-1+), received requisite regulatory and shareholder approvals for completing its acquisition of Simply Insurance.

“The CreditWatch with positive implications indicates that the rating on Simply Insurance could increase,” said S&P. The degree of potential uplift in the rating will depend on S&P’s “assessment of management plans, and the degree of integration with, and explicit and implicit support from, the new parent,” the bulletin continued.

S&P said that at this stage it “believes that Simply Insurance’s integration within GEFI is proceeding well, and is focused on operational and financial structure and related growth strategies. Benefits to Simply Insurance stemming from GEFI’s stronger business and financial profile are likely, given that the New Zealand insurer’s business is complementary to GEFI’s presence in the New Zealand finance and insurance markets.

“Although Standard & Poor’s expects Simply Insurance to benefit from a higher rating, the CreditWatch placement will be resolved once all remaining aspects of the integration process are completed to a satisfactory level, and after further discussions between Standard & Poor’s and GEFI.”

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