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Rating Action:

MOODY'S ASSIGNS A3 RATING TO AVIVA PLC'S FORTHCOMING ISSUE OF PERPETUAL DIRECT CAPITAL INSTRUMENTS (NEGATIVE OUTLOOK)

10 Nov 2004
MOODY'S ASSIGNS A3 RATING TO AVIVA PLC'S FORTHCOMING ISSUE OF PERPETUAL DIRECT CAPITAL INSTRUMENTS (NEGATIVE OUTLOOK)

Paris, November 10, 2004 -- Moody's Investors Service said today that it proposes to assign an A3 rating to the forthcoming GBP 750 million Direct Capital Instruments (DCI) issue by Aviva plc (Aviva) announced earlier today. A negative outlook will apply to the new securities in line with the rating outlook for the Group. The final rating of the securities is subject to receipt and review of final documentation.

Moody's said that the rating of the new securities reflects the expectation that the DCI will qualify as Tier I capital in the Group's regulatory solvency ratios and that the DCI holders will rank junior vis-a-vis other senior and subordinated creditors in case of liquidation. The DCI have been structured to comply with the Innovative Tier I criteria set out in the FSA's "near final" legislation published in early July 2004 (PS04/16) relating to the new insurance capital framework applicable to UK insurers. The DCI will qualify as Innovative Tier 1 capital for Aviva as a result of their ability to absorb losses on a going-concern basis due to the interest deferral feature, preferred claim in liquidation and perpetual nature (any redemption of the DCI is subject to Aviva obtaining prior approval from the FSA).

Moody's notes that classification of an instrument by regulators as Tier 1 capital indicates that, in a liquidation scenario, such an instrument would be more likely to be required by UK regulators to absorb losses in a winding-up than Aviva's existing Tier 2 instruments. Moody's believes that the Tier 1 features of the DCI should be reflected by deeper notching compared to Aviva's outstanding dated and perpetual subordinated debt issues.

The rating agency also said that the negative outlook applicable to the new securities and the Group's ratings reflected (i) Moody's negative rating outlook for the UK life insurance industry globally, underpinned by the uncertainties associated with the new regulatory regime introduced by CP 195 on Realistic Balance Sheet reporting and potential evolution of distribution ("depolarization"), and (ii) incremental capital required to support Aviva's planned growth. In that respect, Moody's noted that Aviva's overall solvency remains very sound with an Insurance Groups Directive surplus at the end of H1 2004 of GBP2.2 billion (est.). Moody's also noted that the Group's main business units have performed strongly over the last twelve months. Although Moody's understands that there is no requirement for additional capital to support planned growth, the Group's anticipated business momentum for life insurance both in UK and on the Continent may constrain internal capital formation. In addition, Moody's said that the proceeds from the issue will be used to repay senior debt, leaving the Group's financial leverage unchanged and strengthening further the Group's financial flexibility and already strong regulatory capital position. Moody's said that a change to stable of its outlook on the Group's ratings would be predicated on its assessment of (i) the impact of the Group's development plans on its capitalisation and (ii) its solvency relative to its UK peers under the new regulatory regime.

The following rating was assigned with a negative outlook:

Aviva plc -- Perpetual Direct Capital Instruments at A3.

Aviva plc, headquartered in London, United Kingdom, had total assets of GBP210 billion, as at the end of June 2004.

London
Samuel S. Theodore
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: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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