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Rating Action:

MOODY'S AFFIRMS RATINGS OF FORTIS FINANCE N.V. (SENIOR DEBT AT A1) FOLLOWING FORTIS' ANNOUNCEMENT TO LAUNCH INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERING OF U.S. INSURANCE OPERATIONS

25 Sep 2003
MOODY'S AFFIRMS RATINGS OF FORTIS FINANCE N.V. (SENIOR DEBT AT A1) FOLLOWING FORTIS' ANNOUNCEMENT TO LAUNCH INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERING OF U.S. INSURANCE OPERATIONS

Separate press release to follow regarding impact on Fortis's U.S. operating companies

Paris, September 25, 2003 -- Moody's Investors Service has affirmed Fortis' ratings following the company's announcement made earlier today of a proposed initial public offering (IPO) of its U.S. insurance operations, saying that at this stage, this decision would not affect the debt ratings of Fortis Finance N.V., the main refinancing vehicle of Fortis insurance activities and of the group, currently rated A1/A2 for senior and subordinated debts. In addition, Moody's said that the A3 preferred stock rating of Fortis (US) RegCaps Funding Trust I and II -- which it regards as Fortis's group debt -- would also be unaffected by the modified organization of Fortis's U.S. activities. The impact on the ratings of the U.S. operating companies rated by Moody's (John Alden and Fortis Benefits strength), is discussed in a separate press release.

Moody's commented that Fortis's decision to float its U.S. holding company Fortis Inc., which the company expects over time to result in a gradual divesture of these non-core operations, reflected primarily the group's determination to release capital currently held by the U.S. insurance companies and reallocate it to the group's core Benelux and European operations to fuel their growth opportunities. The IPO of the U.S. activities will also eliminate the need for Fortis to provide support to these companies and allow them to access capital markets directly to fund their own expansion. In Moody's opinion, the decision highlights the group's prudent management style, especially with regard to the management of its solvency -- which was significantly affected in 2002 because of the equity market downturn -- as well as its future capital needs. Ultimately, this strategic refocusing should also allow Fortis to further strengthen its position as a leading financial services group in Europe.

The rating agency said that the divestiture of the U.S. insurance activities was not substantially altering Fortis's global franchise, earnings power and risk profile, and that the incremental benefits in terms of improved solvency was off set by some diminished level of diversification and the fact that capital released from the transaction will eventually be redeployed within or outside the group. As a result, the global credit strength of the Fortis group was unaltered and continues to be reflected in the ratings of Fortis Finance N.V.

Moody's noted that the planned divestiture of the insurance activities of Fortis Inc. -- which represents around 30% of the group's total premium and 15% of its operating net income -- would not materially affect the group's earnings power and level of diversification -- based on Fortis's strong bank and insurance franchises in the Benelux region. The IPO will also benefit the group's solvency as new shareholders gradually bring in risk capital to support Fortis Inc.'s own solvency requirements, and as Fortis ultimately sells its investment in Fortis Inc. (to be renamed Assurant, Inc). However, as it is Fortis's intention to reinvest the capital released by the IPO either within its existing European operations or in acquisitions and partnerships, Moody's will be monitoring the prospective reallocation of capital, which is subject the IPO and is contingent on market conditions in the coming months -- on Fortis's earnings and capital base, as well as the nature, risk and earnings profile of the activities in which the group will commit additional capital.

The following ratings were affirmed:

Fortis Finance N.V. -- senior notes unconditionally and irrevocably guaranteed by Fortis SA/NV and by Fortis NV at A1, guaranteed subordinated and junior subordinated notes at A2, short-term notes unconditionally and irrevocably guaranteed by Fortis SA/NV and by Fortis NV at Prime-1;

Fortis N.V. -- senior debt at A1;

Fortis Fixed Rate Quarterly Capital Funding Trust -- preferred stock at A3;

Fortis Fixed Rate Annual Capital Funding Trust -- preferred stock at A3;

Fortis Capital Funding LP -- preferred stock at A3;

Fortis Floating Rate Capital Funding Trust -- preferred stock at A3;

Fortis RegCaps Funding Trust I -- preferred stock at A3;

Fortis RegCaps Funding Trust II -- preferred stock to A3 from A2;

Fortfinlux S.A. -- floating rate equity linked subordinated hybrid securities at Baa1;

Fortis has two listed holding companies, Fortis SA/NV, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, and Fortis N.V., headquartered in Utrecht, Holland. The group had total assets of €501 billion and shareholders' assets of €10.2 billion at June 30, 2003.

London
Mark Hewlett
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456 SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Paris
Jean-Luc Lepreux
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's France S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 33 1 53 43 93 78 SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

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