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Rating Action:

Moody's Reviews Aviva's Ratings (A3 subordinated debt) for Downgrade

12 Mar 2013

London, 12 March 2013 -- Moody's Investors Service today placed the ratings of the Aviva group (Aviva, main operating units rated Aa3 for Insurance Financial Strength (IFSR), A1 Aviva Plc guaranteed senior debt, (P)A2 unguaranteed senior debt, A3(hyb) subordinated debt, Baa1(hyb) preferred securities and associated ratings) on review for downgrade. The guaranteed Prime-1 commercial paper rating was affirmed. The rating actions follow the group's 2012 preliminary results announcement on 7 March 2013.

RATINGS RATIONALE

In February 2012, Moody's assigned a negative outlook to Aviva's ratings, reflecting the group's meaningful business exposures in Italy, and to a lesser extent, Spain and Ireland. Economic conditions in these and other markets remain challenging, as reflected in our sovereign rating actions, including rating downgrades for the UK, France, Italy and Spain, since Aviva's negative outlook was assigned. As a result, the Group continues to face a pressurised operating environment in a number of its key markets, with the group reporting a 5% decline in operating profits as at year-end 2012.

In addition, following a change of management, the Group has undertaken a wide-ranging restructuring of its operations, including the sale of operations in the US and Aviva's remaining stake in Delta Lloyd, which has contributed to a reported IFRS loss after tax for 2012 of GBP 3.05bn, mainly as a result of the sale of the US operations. The result included underlying earnings of GBP 1,776m from continuing operations (2011: GBP 1,932m), which reflects lower profits from each of the life, general insurance/health and fund management businesses due to the aforementioned macro-economic pressures and the Group's restructuring activities. IFRS shareholders' equity fell to GBP 11.4bn as at year-end 2012 (2011: GBP 15.4bn), leading to an increase in adjusted financial leverage (Moody's basis) to approximately c.33% from 27% at year-end 2011. Earnings coverage has also been weak on both a 1 year (2012 estimated coverage of 1.5x excluding the loss on discontinued operations) and 5 years average basis (2008-12 estimated 5 year average of c.2x). More positively, on a pro-forma basis the Group's estimated economic capital coverage increased significantly during the year to 172% (2011: 130%) and the US sale, in particular, has reduced Aviva's sensitivity to investment market volatility.

Moody's review for downgrade therefore reflects the combination of undertaking a significant business restructuring whilst in a challenging operating environment which has resulted in modest underlying operating performance. The review will focus particularly on i) the challenges Aviva faces in improving its recent operating performance, with volumes falling in recent years as the company has focussed on improving margins, ii) the ability of Aviva to deleverage its business and improve earnings coverage in the near-to medium term, from levels which currently remain below similarly rated peers, iii) changes to the Group's global and local franchise as a consequence of its restructuring initiatives, and iv) the ability of the Aviva group to increasingly remit dividends from subsidiaries up to the Group.

Moody's further noted that the review of the holding company debt ratings will also consider the continued appropriateness of the narrower notching from which Aviva currently benefits (Aviva Plc senior debt is currently rated 2 notches below the IFSR of the main UK operating companies). In this regard, Moody's will assess whether the newly announced stream-lined organisational structure, including moving most of the Group's overseas operations from Aviva Insurance Ltd to being directly owned by Aviva Group Holdings, sufficiently offsets the Group's reduced geographic exposure following the previously announced disposals.

Moody's said that based on current expectations, any downgrade of the Group's intrinsic financial strength, as demonstrated in the IFSR of the lead insurance operating companies (e.g. Aviva Life & Pensions UK Limited), would likely be limited to one notch. Moody's added that a one notch downgrade of the IFSR of the main operating companies to A1, combined with a widening of notching of Aviva's holding company obligations as a result of weaker diversification, could lead to a downgrade of Aviva's holding company unguaranteed debt ratings (unguaranteed senior debt rated (P)A2, subordinated debt rated A3(hyb) and preferred securities rated Baa1(hyb)) by up to two notches.

As at year-end 2012, Aviva Plc, headquartered in London, England, reported consolidated gross written premiums of GBP 22,744m from continuing operations (2011 restated: GBP 26,255m), a total IFRS net loss of GBP 3,050m (2011 restated: GBP 60m profit) and IFRS equity of GBP 11,360m (2011 restated: GBP 15,363m).

The following ratings were placed on review for downgrade:

Aviva Plc:

Guaranteed Senior Debt A1

Guaranteed Senior MTN (P)A1

Senior Unsecured MTN (P)A2

Senior Subordinate MTN (P)A3

Subordinated MTN (P)A3

Junior Subordinated MTN (P)Baa1

Subordinate Shelf (P)A3

Subordinate A3(hyb)

Junior Subordinate A3(hyb)

Preferred Securities Baa1(hyb)

Aviva Insurance Limited:

Insurance Financial Strength Aa3

Aviva International Insurance Limited:

Insurance Financial Strength Aa3

Aviva Life & Pensions UK Limited:

Insurance Financial Strength Aa3

The following rating was affirmed:

Aviva Plc Guaranteed Commercial Paper P-1

The methodologies used in these ratings were Moody's Global Rating Methodology for Life Insurers published in May 2010, Moody's Global Rating Methodology for Property and Casualty Insurers published in May 2010, and Moody's Guidelines for Rating Insurance Hybrid Securities and Subordinated Debt published in January 2010. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of these methodologies.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

David Masters
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Simon Harris
MD - Financial Institutions
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's Reviews Aviva's Ratings (A3 subordinated debt) for Downgrade
No Related Data.
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