S&P Raises Winterthur Ratings to ‘A+’ as AXA Completes Purchase

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has raised its long-term counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on Switzerland’s Winterthur Swiss Insurance Co. by two notches to “A+” from “A-“, following the completion of the acquisition by France’s AXA Group.

S&P rates AXA and its main operating entities “AA-” with a stable outlook and debt ratings of “A-1.” At the same time S&P removed Winterthur’s ratings from its CreditWatch with positive implications, where they were placed on June 14, 2006, and assigned a stable outlook.

“The upgrade of Winterthur reflects the entity’s strategically important status within the AXA group,” stated S&P credit analyst Hiltrud Besgen. “In our view, Winterthur contributes a major portion to AXA’s book of business and further enhances the group’s diversification potential.”

S&P also indicated that its “ratings on Winterthur continue to reflect its strong competitive position and strong earnings performance, partially offset by Winterthur’s exposure to the challenging–although recovering–life insurance market in Switzerland.”

“The stable outlook reflects the expectation that Winterthur will remain a strategically important company within the AXA group by maintaining its strong competitive position and strong operating performance,” Besgen added.