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Rating Action:

MOODY'S REVIEWS FOR POSSIBLE DOWNGRADE THE DEBT RATINGS OF FORTIS FINANCE N.V. (SENIOR DEBTS AT Aa3) ON REDUCED SOLVENCY

28 Jan 2003
MOODY'S REVIEWS FOR POSSIBLE DOWNGRADE THE DEBT RATINGS OF FORTIS FINANCE N.V. (SENIOR DEBTS AT Aa3) ON REDUCED SOLVENCY

Fortis Bank Aa3/Prime-1/B ratings are not affected

London, 28 January 2003 -- Moody's Investors Service has placed on review the guaranteed Aa3 senior and A1 subordinated and junior subordinated debt ratings of Fortis Finance N.V.. The A2 rating for preferred stock and the A3 rating for floating rate equity linked securities, also jointly guaranteed by Fortis SA/NV and Fortis N.V., were also placed on review for possible downgrade. In addition, the Aa3 insurance financial strength ratings of Fortis Benefits Life Insurance was placed on review for possible downgrade while the A2 insurance financial strength ratings of John Alden Life Insurance Company was affirmed. The Prime-1 rating for short-term debt obligations was affirmed. The Aa3/Prime-1 debt and bank deposit and B financial strength ratings of Fortis Bank and its subsidiaries are not affected by this rating action and continue to have a stable rating outlook.

Moody's said that its rating action was prompted by the reduction seen in the solvency in the group's main insurance units as well as at holding company level, reflecting predominantly the effect of lower equity markets. In addition, increased levels of financial leverage over the past several years have somewhat weakened the group's strong debt service capacity. Moody's also added that the review of the Aa3 insurance financial strength ratings of Fortis Benefits Insurance Company in the U.S. reflects the significant amount of implicit support that the company derives from its ownership.

Moody's said that its review, which should be completed in the next two months, will focus on the level, composition and allocation of capital within the group and its insurance businesses, as well as on the level of its financial leverage. Furthermore, the agency said that the review would also be looking at the group structure, benefit of diversification and the relative subordination of holding company debt holders vis-a-vis creditors of the operating entities. Nevertheless, Moody's also said that any lowering of its Fortis Finance N.V.'s debt ratings, if warranted, would be limited to a one-notch downgrade.

The following ratings were placed on review for possible downgrade:

Fortis Finance NV - senior notes unconditionally and irrevocably guaranteed by Fortis SA/NV and by Fortis NV at Aa3, guaranteed subordinated notes at A1, guaranteed junior subordinated notes at A1;

Fortis N.V. - senior debt at Aa3;

Fortis Fixed Rate Quarterly Capital Funding Trust - preferred stock at A2;

Fortis Fixed Rate Annual Capital Funding Trust - preferred stock at A2;

Fortis Capital Funding LP - preferred stock at A2;

Fortis Floating Rate Capital Funding Trust - preferred stock at A2;

Fortis RegCaps Funding Trust I - preferred stock at A2;

Fortis RegCaps Funding Trust II - preferred stock at A2;

Fortfinlux S.A. - floating rate equity linked subordinated hybrid securities at A3;

Fortis Benefits Insurance - insurance financial strength at Aa3.

The following ratings were affirmed:

Fortis Finance NV - short-term notes unconditionally and irrevocably guaranteed by Fortis SA/NV and by Fortis NV at Prime-1;

John Alden Life Insurance Company - insurance financial strength at A2.

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 €498 billion and shareholders' assets of €11 billion at September 30, 2002.

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

Paris
Jean-Luc Lepreux
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's France S.A.
33 1 53 30 10 20

No Related Data.
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