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Assured Guaranty Ltd. Message Board

  • mytek_47802 mytek_47802 Nov 30, 2011 8:40 PM Flag

    LMAO now Wilbur is Crying Boo Hoo Foul...;-[

    S&P downgrades Assured Guaranty, big bond insurer

    Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:47pm EST
    * Operating units downgraded to AA-minus

    * Assured backed by billionaire Wilbur Ross

    By Jonathan Stempel

    Nov 30 (Reuters) - Assured Guaranty Ltd saw its credit rating downgraded two notches on Wednesday by Standard & Poor's, but the cut was smaller than had been threatened and should let the last remaining U.S. municipal bond insurer keep guaranteeing public finance debt.

    S&P lowered its ratings for Assured operating units, including Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp and Assured Guaranty Corp, to "AA-minus," its fourth-highest grade, from "AA-plus." It also downgraded the parent company two notches to "A-minus" from "A-plus." The rating outlook is stable.

    The cuts follow changes in S&P's bond insurance rating criteria, after the once "triple-A" rated MBIA Inc and Ambac Financial Group Inc fell to junk status from incurring big losses by insuring risky mortgage debt.

    Both of those companies stopped insuring municipal bonds, and Ambac filed for bankruptcy protection last year. A unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc briefly filled some of the void, but stopped after Buffett concluded the risks were too high for his company.

    S&P said Assured has a "solid market presence and consistent track record of profitability" from underwriting municipal bonds. It said the stable outlook assumes Assured will keep insuring predominantly investment-grade municipal bonds and maintain strong financial flexibility.

    An Assured spokeswoman declined to comment on how the downgrade might affect the Bermuda-based company's business.

    Assured in a statement said its ratings were left in the "double-A" category because the insurer has been able to "execute its capital enhancement strategies."

    The downgrade was milder than S&P threatened in January, when it said the new criteria could cause Assured's ratings to fall three notches or more.S&P's new ratings for the operating units are equivalent to the ratings assigned by rival Moody's Investors Service.

    Assured's board includes billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, who has a more than 9 percent stake, regulatory filings show.

    Assured shares closed up 36 cents, or 3.9 percent, at $9.70 on Wednesday. S&P announced the downgrade after U.S. markets closed.

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    • S&P said Assured has a "solid market presence and consistent track record of profitability" from underwriting municipal bonds. It said the stable outlook assumes Assured will keep insuring predominantly investment-grade municipal bonds and maintain strong financial flexibility.




      AA- isn't bad. How many other muni bond insurers out there are going to compete?

 
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