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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms Principal Financial's ratings, outlook changed to stable

20 May 2009

New York, May 20, 2009 -- Moody's Investors Service has affirmed the debt ratings (guaranteed senior unsecured at A3) of Principal Financial Group Inc. (NYSE: PFG) and the Aa3 insurance financial strength (IFS) rating of Principal Life Insurance Company (Principal Life), its primary life insurance company, but changed the rating outlook to stable from negative. Other affiliated ratings were also affirmed with a stable outlook (see complete list below). The rating action follows PFG's recent issuance of $1.15 billion of common equity, as well as $750 million of new senior debt, the proceeds of which are expected to be used to repay the $455 million of outstanding senior debt at a downstream holding company (Principal Financial Services, Inc.) maturing in August, 2009 and/or for general corporate purposes

Commenting on the change to a stable outlook, the rating agency said that the proceeds from PFG's equity and debt issuances provided a substantial cushion to cover short-term debt and potential commercial paper maturities, as well as future anticipated capital and liquidity needs at Principal Life - even under extremely stressful economic and capital market conditions. Moody's Vice President and Senior Credit Officer, Laura Bazer, stated: "The funds provide the group with needed capital to absorb the elevated level of investment losses and increases in capital requirements from securities' ratings transition anticipated over the next few years." The analyst continued: "PFG's credit profile is heavily exposed and sensitive to the commercial real estate markets with both CMBS securities and commercial mortgage loans, and the recent capital raise will help mitigate any unanticipated adverse performance on those asset classes".

Commenting on the rating affirmation, Moody's said it was based on the company's strong, broad-based position in the U.S. markets for group pensions, its strong asset-liability management, and solid capital adequacy -- now bolstered by contingent capital at the holding company for the operating company from the capital raise. These strengths are mitigated by the company's focus on highly-competitive, low-margined pension, and equity-market- sensitive retirement and asset management products, as well as a heavy concentration in commercial real estate assets. Moody's believes that although investment losses (both realized and unrealized), will continue to pressure PFG's earnings, capitalization, and liquidity, the group now has a strong capital buffer to help it manage through today's operating and investment challenges.

Commenting on the US Treasury Department's preliminary approval last week for PFG to participate in the Treasury's Capital Purchase Program (CPP), Moody's views it as another positive development, in terms of the further capital and liquidity cushion provided under the program, if the company were to take the government funds.

However, the rating agency cautioned that there could be a stigma in the marketplace with accepting government funds that may negatively affect the company's reputation and franchise. PFG had applied for up to $2 billion under the CPP in the fall of 2008, and PFG has not decided whether or not it will participate. Moody's noted that PFG's recent issuances of $750 million of senior debt, following the $1.15 billion of common stock, lessens its need to raise additional funds.

According to Moody's, the following factors could result in a downgrade of PFG's ratings: 1) NAIC RBC ratio below 325%; 2) pre-tax investment losses in excess of $2 billion in 2009; 3) consolidated financial leverage of more than 30% and cashflow coverage of less than 4x; 4) material deterioration in core 401(k) defined contribution business, leading to significant reduction in market position; 5) a sizable acquisition (in excess of $1 billion) or expansion into new/higher risk/foreign business; or 6), reactivation of share repurchases in 2009.

The following factors could result in an upgrade of PFG's ratings: 1) NAIC RBC ratio consistently above 350%, 2) annual ROEs consistently above 12%, and 3) consolidated financial leverage maintained in the mid 20s and cashflow coverage above 6x.

The following ratings were affirmed and the outlook changed to stable from negative:

Principal Life Insurance Company: long-term insurance financial strength at Aa3; surplus notes at A2;

Principal Income Fundings Trusts: senior secured debt at Aa3;

Principal Global Funding LLC, Principal Global Funding I, Principal Global Funding II, LLC: senior secured debt at Aa3;

Principal Financial Group Australia (Pty) Ltd (guaranteed by Principal Financial Services, Inc.): senior debt at A3;

Principal Financial Group, Inc.: senior unsecured debt (guaranteed by Principal Financial Services, Inc.) at A3; provisional senior unsecured debt shelf at (P) Baa1 (not guaranteed); provisional subordinated debt shelf at (P) Baa2 (not guaranteed); provisional preferred stock shelf at (P) Baa3 (not guaranteed);

Principal Capital I, II and III: provisional trust preferred stock shelf at (P) Baa2;

Principal Financial Services, Inc.: short-term rating for commercial paper at Prime-2.

Principal Financial Group, Inc. is a diversified life insurance and financial services group based in Des Moines, Iowa. At March 31, 2009, it reported consolidated GAAP assets of approximately $123 billion and consolidated GAAP shareholders' equity of close to $3 billion. Principal Life Insurance Company is the lead operating company of Principal Financial Group, Inc. At March 31, 2009, Principal Life Insurance Company had statutory assets of $110 billion, and statutory capital of approximately $4.2 billion.

The last rating action on PFG took place on May 18, 2009, when Moody's assigned an A3 rating with a negative outlook to PFG's $750 million senior debt issuance.

The principal methodology used in rating PFG is "Moody's Global Rating Methodology for Life Insurers", which can be found at www.moodys.com in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory, in the Ratings Methodologies subdirectory. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating PFG can also be found in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory.

Moody's insurance financial strength ratings are opinions of the ability of insurance companies to pay punctually senior policyholder claims and obligation. For more information, visit our website at www.moodys.com/insurance.

New York
Robert Riegel
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

New York
Laura Bazer
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's affirms Principal Financial's ratings, outlook changed to stable
No Related Data.
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