Willis Group Raised

August 19, 2002

S&P raised its counterparty credit rating on Willis Group Holdings Ltd. (Willis) to “BB+” from “BB” due to the company’s continued debt reduction and improved operating fundamentals. It also said it raised related ratings and revised the outlook to stable from negative.

An S&P analyst noted positively the company’s willingness to pay down debt ahead of schedule, its maintenance of good interest coverage, and its leveraging of a well-established global market presence. Cited as a negative was “the company’s increasing concentration in insurance brokerage operations, which increases the company’s exposure to the vagaries of the insurance underwriting cycle.”

Willis has met and exceeded S&P’s expectations to date and is expected to continue to further decrease leverage given record net income of $68 million in the first quarter of 2002 versus $39 million as of first quarter 2001. S&P expects the company to prudently manage capital as measured by a debt-to-capital ratio of below 60 percent in 2002 and 2003. GAAP interest coverage is expected to remain in line with the rating level.

From This Issue

Insurance Journal West August 19, 2002
August 19, 2002
Insurance Journal West Magazine

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