Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has placed its “BB-” rating on Simply Insurance New Zealand Ltd. (SINZ) on CreditWatch with developing implications.
“The CreditWatch placement follows Australia-based GE Money’s (GE Money; not rated) decision to review its overall insurance operations in Australia and New Zealand as part of an ongoing global initiative,” said S&P. “SINZ, owned by New Zealand-based global retail financial institution, GE Finance and Insurance Ltd. (GEFI; not rated), is part of the overall insurance operations in Australia and New Zealand, and forms part of this strategic review.
“As part of the review, the range of options being considered includes the possibility of continuing the business, forming a strategic partnership, or even a possible sale by its parent. At this stage, a decision is expected to be made by March 2007.”
S&P said its “CreditWatch developing placement indicates the uncertainty about SINZ’s future ownership and structure, and that the rating assigned could be upgraded, downgraded, or affirmed, depending upon the outcome of the review. The ‘BB-‘ rating on SINZ incorporates the benefit of its parent’s strong management team, which has a high level of insurance-related experience. SINZ, however, is not explicitly supported by GEFI, and is considered to be of less strategic importance, given its start-up status, and small size relative to the group.”
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