NEW YORK--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Financial guarantor Assured Guaranty Corp. (AGC), a subsidiary of Assured Guaranty Ltd. (together with its subsidiaries, Assured Guaranty)(NYSE:AGO), has requested that Moody's Investors Service, Inc. (Moody’s) withdraw AGC’s financial strength rating.
“As some Moody’s-rated AGC transactions had not also been publicly rated by S&P, we arranged for S&P to assign our AA public rating to those bonds rated below Aa by Moody’s or having no underlying Moody’s rating”
Additionally, AGC has arranged for S&P Global Ratings (S&P) to assign AGC’s AA (stable) rating to certain AGC-insured bonds not previously rated by S&P. These bonds relate to 312 credits with publicly traded bonds insured by AGC that AGC has identified as both (a) not already having a public AGC-insured rating from S&P and (b) having an uninsured (underlying) public rating below Aa from Moody's or having no public underlying Moody’s rating.
“Moody’s assigned AGC’s current rating in January 2013, and since then, the rating has failed to keep pace with the substantial strengthening of AGC, including its improved leverage, reduced risk in its insured exposure, and strong financial results,” said Dominic Frederico, President and CEO. “Moody’s monoline rating criteria focus excessively on subjective, qualitative factors that have little or no impact on a guarantor’s ability to pay claims. From September 30, 2012 to September 30, 2016, AGC’s qualified statutory capital increased by 54%, while its statutory net par outstanding decreased by 41%, its leverage ratio of debt service to claims-paying resources improved from 37:1 to 21:1, and its GAAP net income totaled $1.5 billion over that period. As a result, we believe Moody’s A3 rating does not accurately describe AGC’s current strong and growing financial strength.
“As some Moody’s-rated AGC transactions had not also been publicly rated by S&P, we arranged for S&P to assign our AA public rating to those bonds rated below Aa by Moody’s or having no underlying Moody’s rating,” he added.
Assured Guaranty received financial strength rating affirmations from S&P, KBRA and Moody’s in the third and fourth quarters of 2016. S&P affirmed AGC, AGM and MAC at AA stable, KBRA affirmed AGM and MAC at AA+ stable and rated AGC AA stable, and Moody’s affirmed AGM at A2 stable and AGC at A3, changing AGC’s outlook to stable.
AGC guarantees timely payment of principal and interest on securities it insures. Its unconditional and irrevocable guaranty remains in full force and effect on all bonds AGC insures, irrespective of any rating published or not published by any rating agency. AGC is a member of the Assured Guaranty group, which has $12 billion in claims-paying resources and an investment portfolio that generates approximately $400 million of annual investment income.
A list of bonds that have newly received AGC’s AA S&P rating, and associated CUSIPs, may be found on the Assured Guaranty website at AssuredGuaranty.com/investor-information/by-company/AGC.
Issuers should consult with their legal and financial advisors regarding whether the assignment of the S&P rating constitutes a rating change that should be reported under any continuing disclosure undertakings.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:
Any forward-looking statements made in this press release reflect Assured Guaranty’s current views with respect to future events and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in these statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those resulting from changes in rating agency models or opinions, adverse credit developments in the insured portfolio and the impact of those developments on rating agency models and opinions, other risks and uncertainties that have not been identified at this time, management’s response to these factors, and other risk factors identified in Assured Guaranty’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, notwithstanding AGC’s request that Moody’s withdraw the financial strength rating it assigns to AGC, Moody’s may continue to assign a rating to AGC, potentially at a lower level. Furthermore, AGC may not be able to realize its business strategies despite Moody’s withdrawing the rating, including being able to underwrite additional insurance business, and may receive lower than expected premium from existing insurance business. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are made as of January 13, 2017. Assured Guaranty undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
AGC is a subsidiary of Assured Guaranty Ltd., a publicly traded (NYSE: AGO), Bermuda-based holding company whose operating subsidiaries provide credit enhancement products to the U.S. and international public finance, infrastructure and structured finance markets. More information on Assured Guaranty Ltd. and its subsidiaries can be found at AssuredGuaranty.com.