Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services announced that it has affirmed its “AA-” long-term counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings on Italy’s Toro Assicurazioni SpA with a stable outlook.
S&P also lowered its long-term counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings on Italy’s Nuova Tirrena SpA (NT) to “BBB” from “A-‘. Those ratings were also removed them from CreditWatch, where they had been placed with positive implications on June 26, 2006 – revised to developing implications on Dec. 5, 2006. The outlook is now positive.
S&P subsequently withdrew the ratings on both companies at their request, following their acquisition by Assicurazioni Generali SpA, Italy’s largest insurance group.
Concerning Toro, S&P said its ratings “reflect the company’s strategic importance to its parent,” Generali -rated “AA/Stable.” S&P also noted the Company’s “low risk profile, strong property/casualty operating performance and strong capitalization. Offsetting factors are the group’s concentration in motor business and limited earning diversification.”
S&P said its downgrade on Nuova Terra, reflects the likelihood that, following its acquisition of Toro, the Generali group “will dispose of NT in order to comply with the Italian antitrust authority’s ruling,” which ordered Generali “to dispose of one asset in order to avoid a dominant market position, particularly in the motor insurance sector.” As a result S&P said it doesn’t consider NT “as strategically important to the Generali group.”
S&P added that the “ratings on NT reflect the company’s low risk profile, good operating performance and strong capitalization. These factors are offset by the company’s concentration in motor and geographically limited customer base.
“The positive outlook reflects the likelihood that the ratings on NT will benefit from being a member of a higher rated group both if it is sold or if it remains within the Generali group.”
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