Fitch Ratings has affirmed its existing debt ratings on RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd (RNR) – variously “A-“, “BBB+” and “BBB” – and has assigned a ‘BBB’ rating to RNR’s new $300 million Series D Preferred Share issue (See IJ web site Dec. 13). Fitch also revised the rating outlook from negative to stable.
Fitch explained that its “rating on RNR’s new preferred issue is equivalent to its ratings on RNR’s currently outstanding preferred shares. The agency anticipates that proceeds from the issue will be used to redeem RNR’s 8.10 percent Series A Preferred Shares and 8.54 percent Capital Securities. At Sept. 30, 2006, in aggregate, there were $253 million of these securities outstanding.
“The rating reflects RNR’s leading position in the property/catastrophe reinsurance market, consistently better than peer underwriting results, and reasonable use of financial leverage. The ratings also consider the inherently volatile nature of RNR’s chosen business lines.”
Fitch also noted the “strong earnings through the first nine months of 2006” turned in by RNR, as a result of “favorable market conditions and comparatively low catastrophe-related losses. RNR reported $561 million of net income and a combined ratio of 55.2 percent through the Sept. 30, 2006.”
Explaining the outlook revision, Fitch said it reflects the rating agency’s “heightened comfort with RNR’s ability to continue to deliver strong earnings and to retain its leading position in the catastrophe reinsurance market after the company incurred significant senior management changes in late 2005.
“The revision also reflects Fitch’s belief that Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation that RNR faced in 2005 and for which the company submitted a settlement offer earlier this year, are unlikely to have a material financial or operational effect on RNR going forward.”
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