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Rating Action:

MOODY'S CONFIRMS AEGON'S DEBT AND INSURANCE FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATINGS; TRANSAMERICA CORPORATION DEBT PLACED ON REVIEW FOR POSSIBLE UPGRADE (SENIOR AT A2)

18 Feb 1999
MOODY'S CONFIRMS AEGON'S DEBT AND INSURANCE FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATINGS; TRANSAMERICA CORPORATION DEBT PLACED ON REVIEW FOR POSSIBLE UPGRADE (SENIOR AT A2) Moody's Investors Service confirmed Aegon N.V.'s Aa3 senior unsecured debt rating, its A1 subordinated debt rating and its P-1 commercial paper rating. Transamerica Corporation's A2 senior debt rating, A3 junior subordinated and subordinated debt ratings, and "a2" preferred stock rating have been placed on review for possible upgrade. In a separate press release, Moody's confirmed the ratings of Transamerica Finance Corporation at A3/Prime-1 and changed the outlook to uncertain.


Moody's also confirmed the Aegon group's other ratings including the Aa2 insurance financial strength ratings of Scottish Equitable plc (Long-term Fund); the Aa3 insurance financial strength rating and the P-1 short-term rating of Peoples Benefit Life Insurance Company; the Aa3 insurance financial strength ratings and the P-1 short-term rating of Monumental Life Insurance Company and the A1 senior debt of Commonwealth General Corporation. Moody's changed from stable to negative the outlook for Aegon N.V.'s Aa3 senior debt and A1 subordinated debt ratings, and for the A1 senior debt rating of Commonwealth General Corporation and the "a1" preferred stock rating of Commonwealth General Corporation LLC. The outlook for all the other ratings mentioned above remains stable.


Moody's also confirmed the Aa3 insurance financial strength ratings of Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Company and Transamerica Life Insurance and Annuity Company. The ratings outlook for both companies has been changed to stable from negative. Additionally, Transamerica Corporation's P-1 short-term debt rating has been confirmed.


Moody's said that these rating actions follow the announcement by Aegon of its agreed $9.7 billion take-over of Transamerica Corporation, the US provider of life and annuities products as well as commercial finance, leasing and real estate services. Aegon's bid is subject to acceptance by Transamerica's shareholders and Aegon's shareholders, as well as regulatory authorities. If successful, the bid will greatly increase Aegon's existing presence in the US life and annuities market, in particular in traditional and universal life, fixed annuities, stable value investments and structured settlements. In addition, the rating agency said that Aegon will gain first time entry to life reinsurance and to the Canadian life insurance and annuities market. The acquisition of these businesses will take Aegon into the top five providers of life insurance and annuities in the US. Cost savings will be achievable, although these are not expected to exceed some $150 million annually. Aegon will also acquire significant non-insurance operations, including commercial finance, leasing and real estate services.


Moody's noted that the business rationale of Aegon's bid for Transamerica is sound and consistent with its stated strategy of developing its international life insurance operations. The bid will bring advantages to its US business of greater critical mass, cross-sell opportunities, some cost savings and a strong brand name. Moody's added that the acquisition price also appears reasonable compared with the current market values of life insurance businesses internationally. Nevertheless, the acquisition involves risk including increased financial leverage and integration issues, the rating agency said.


Aegon's funding of this acquisition involves fresh equity and debt, and although this will result in an increase in its financial leverage, Moody's believes that Aegon will take steps to reduce it over the medium term. Moody's also considers that Transamerica's non-insurance operations may not be long term holdings for Aegon since Aegon has demonstrated in the past its strong focus on its core life insurance operations which Moody's believes will continue to be its strategy going forward. The change in outlook from stable to negative for Aegon's debt ratings reflects the uncertainty regarding the future of these non-insurance operations and the medium term increase in financial leverage.


The following ratings have been confirmed:


Aegon N.V.-- Aa3 senior unsecured debt rating, A1 subordinated debt rating and Prime-1 short-term debt rating


Scottish Equitable plc (Long-term Fund) -- Aa2 insurance financial strength rating


Commonwealth General Corporation -- A1 senior debt rating


Commonwealth General Corporation LLC -- "a1" preferred stock rating


AUSA Life Insurance Company, Inc. -- Aa3 insurance financial strength rating and Prime-1 short-term rating


Bankers United Life Assurance Company -- Aa3 insurance financial strength rating


Life Investors Insurance Company of America -- Aa3 insurance financial strength rating


Monumental Life Insurance Company -- Aa3 insurance financial strength rating and Prime-1 short-term rating


PFL Life Insurance Company -- Aa3 insurance financial strength rating


Peoples Benefit Life Insurance Company -- Aa3 insurance financial strength rating and Prime-1 short- term rating


Western Reserve Life Assurance Company of Ohio -- Aa3 insurance financial strength rating


Transamerica Corporation -- Prime-1 short-term debt rating


Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Company -- Insurance financial strength rating of Aa3, and the Prime-1 short-term rating of the company


Transamerica Life Insurance and Annuity Company -- Insurance financial strength rating of Aa3, and the Prime-1 short-term rating of the company


The following ratings are on review for possible upgrade:


Transamerica Corporation - A2 senior long-term debt rating, A3 subordinated and junior subordinated debt rating, and "a2" preferred stock rating


Transamerica Capital I -- Capital trust pass-through securities with a preferred stock rating of "a2"


Transamerica Capital II -- Capital trust pass-through securities with a preferred stock rating of "a2"


Transamerica Delaware, L. P. -- Monthly income preferred securities with a preferred stock rating of "a2"







Aegon N.V., headquartered in the Hague, Holland, is an international provider of life insurance, pension and investment products and reported consolidated total assets of NLG272 billion and shareholders' equity of NLG18 billion at December 31, 1997.


Aegon USA, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is the U.S. arm of Aegon N.V. and specialises in life insurance and annuity products. As of September 30, 1998, the company reported total assets of $71.8 billion and shareholders' equity of $5.9 billion.


Transamerica Corporation, headquartered in San Francisco, California is a diversified financial services company. As of September 30, 1998, Transamerica Corporation had consolidated assets of $55.4 billion and stockholders' equity of $5.2 billion. Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Company had statutory assets of $18.9 billion and statutory capital of $2.0 billion, and Transamerica Life Insurance and Annuity Company had statutory assets of $18.5 billion and statutory capital of $1.1 billion as of the same date.

No Related Data.
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