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Rating Action:

MOODY'S DOWNGRADES AMP GROUP'S SENIOR UNSECURED DEBT RATINGS TO A1 FROM Aa3 AND INSURANCE FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATINGS OF AMP LIFE (TO Aa2 from Aa1), PEARL ASSURANCE (to Aa3 from Aa2) AND NATIONAL PROVIDENT LIFE (TO A1 FROM Aa3); CONFIRMS GIO FINANCE'S SENI

28 Jan 2000
MOODY'S DOWNGRADES AMP GROUP'S SENIOR UNSECURED DEBT RATINGS TO A1 FROM Aa3 AND INSURANCE FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATINGS OF AMP LIFE (TO Aa2 from Aa1), PEARL ASSURANCE (to Aa3 from Aa2) AND NATIONAL PROVIDENT LIFE (TO A1 FROM Aa3); CONFIRMS GIO FINANCE'S SENI Moody's Investors Service downgraded the insurance financial strength rating of AMP Life Limited to Aa2 from Aa1, the insurance financial strength rating of Pearl Assurance plc to Aa3 from Aa2, and the insurance financial strength rating of National Provident Life ("NPL") to A1 from Aa3. Moody's also lowered the subordinated debt rating of NPI Finance plc to A3 from A2, the backed senior unsecured rating of AMP (UK) plc to Aa3 from Aa2, the senior unsecured rating of AMP Group Holdings Limited to A1 from Aa3, and the backed senior and subordinated unsecured ratings of AMP (UK) Finance Services plc and AMP Group Finance Services Limited to A1 from Aa3 (to A2 from A1 for the subordinated ratings). Moody's confirmed the Baa1 senior unsecured debt rating of GIO Finance Limited, and upgraded the commercial paper ratings for GIO Finance Limited and GIO Australia Holdings Limited to Prime-1 from Prime-2. These rating actions conclude the review initiated in September 1999, following the disclosure of unexpectedly large reinsurance losses at GIO Australia Holdings Limited ("GIO"), the leading Australian non-life and reinsurance group, and AMP Limited's ("AMP") bid to acquire 100% of GIO by buying-out its minority shareholders.


Moody's said that the downgrades reflect the reduction in the AMP Group's 's financial flexibility following the 100% debt funding of GIO which has resulted in increased leverage, and decreased interest cover. In addition, Moody's said that GIO has recently experienced significant losses on its reinsurance book, due to some aggressive underwriting and the occurrence of a series of major catastrophes. GIO has subsequently ceased writing reinsurance and is running off its current book. Moody's added that the reinsurance losses at GIO to date, and the possibility of further reinsurance losses as its longer-tailed liabilities run off, have adversely impacted AMP's capital strength and profitability in the short to medium term. The GIO group reported a net loss of A$742.6m in its June 1999 full year results, and has announced further reserve strengthenings since then. However, the rating agency recognises the benefits to AMP of the GIO acquisition in terms of potential synergies.


Moody's added that, in spite of the challenges posed by GIO's reinsurance losses, it views the AMP group as having a sound international strategy, and a well contained risk profile reflecting its primary focus on life insurance, superannuation and savings products. The outlook on AMP's ratings is stable, reflecting Moody's view that the group's future focus will be on integrating its recent acquisitions, and that the group has sufficient financial flexibility to absorb any further limited reinsurance losses at GIO.


Moody's upgraded to Prime-1 from Prime-2 the commercial paper rating of GIO Finance Limited reflecting AMP's guarantee. Moody's confirmed GIO Finance Limited's Baa1 senior debt rating reflecting its position as a 100% owned subsidiary of AMP although it is not explicitly guaranteed by AMP.


AMP Bank Limited's A2/Prime-1 bank deposit rating, A2 issuer rating and D+ bank financial strength rating were not under review and were confirmed.


The following ratings were downgraded:


AMP Life Limited Statutory Funds - insurance financial strength rating to Aa2 from Aa1


Pearl Assurance plc Long-term Fund - insurance financial strength rating to Aa3 from Aa2


National Provident Life - insurance financial strength rating to A1 from Aa3


AMP Group Holdings Limited -senior unsecured debt rating to A1 from Aa3


AMP (UK) Finance Services plc - backed senior unsecured debt rating to A1 from Aa3


AMP Group Finance Services Limited - backed senior unsecured debt rating to A1 from Aa3, backed subordinated debt rating to A2 from A1


AMP (UK) plc - backed senior unsecured bond rating to Aa3 from Aa2


NPI Finance plc - subordinated guaranteed bond rating to A3 from A2


The following ratings were upgraded:


GIO Finance Limited - guaranteed commercial paper rating to Prime-1 from Prime-2


The following ratings were confirmed:


GIO Finance Limited -- Baa1 senior debt rating


AMP Group Finance Services Limited -- Prime-1 commercial paper rating


AMP Bank Limited - A2/Prime-1 bank deposit ratings, A2 issuer rating and D+ bank financial strength rating


AMP Limited, headquartered in Sydney, Australia, is a financial services holding company and reported pro-forma consolidated assets of Aus$112.8 billion and shareholders' equity of Aus$8.6 billion at December 31, 1998.


No Related Data.
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