Credit rating agencies, A.M. Best Co., Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P) and Moody’s Investor Services of Moody's Corp. (MCO) have assigned debt ratings on the recently issued 5.75% senior unsecured notes of American Financial Group Inc. (AFG). While A.M. Best assigned a rating of “bbb+” to the notes, Moody’s conferred a “Baa2” rating. Both agencies have a positive outlook on the ratings.
Additionally, S&P has assigned a “BBB+” rating to the notes. All other existing senior unsecured notes of American Financial also hold a “BBB+” rating from S&P. Further, the rating agency has assigned a counterpart credit rating of “BBB+” with a stable outlook to the company.
S&P does not expect any change in the company’s financial leverage due to the issuance of these notes as these are being issued to replace its 7.125% senior debenture worth $115 million, due in 2034. However, as the interest rate on the new notes is lower than the debentures, the interest coverage ratio is expected to improve.
American Financial announced the issue of the senior notes worth $125 million last week. These are scheduled to mature on August 25, 2042. However, the company will allow the redemption of 100% of the principal amount plus accrued and unpaid interest on these notes from August 25, 2017.
American Financial is also expected to submit an application for the listing of these unsecured senior notes on the New York Stock Exchange. On receiving approval from the regulatory bodies, trading should begin within 30 days after the issuance, with the “AFA” symbol.
The proceeds from this issue will be used to buy back the 7.125% senior debenture. The redemption amount will not only include the principal but also the interest accrued, excluding the date of redemption. The residual proceeds will be used to finance the daily operations of the American Financial and aid its working capital.
American Financial currently carries a Zacks #3 Rank, which implies a short-term Hold rating.Read the Full Research Report on MCO
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