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The Hartford completes debt buyback from Allianz

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- The Hartford Financial Services Group said Tuesday that it completed buying back debt and stock warrants from German insurance company Allianz SE for about $2.43 billion.

The Hartford, Conn., insurer said that the move gives it more financial flexibility and saves it about $45 million annually in interest payments.

The debt and warrants were issued to Allianz in October 2008, the depths of the financial crisis. Hartford had said then that Allianz's $2.5 billion investment would help it strengthen its capital position.

Hartford had said earlier this month that it was repurchasing the $1.75 billion in debt due 2068 for approximately $2.08 billion, plus a payment of unpaid interest on the 10 percent debt.

Hartford also said then that it would buy back the outstanding warrants, which allowed Allianz to buy about 69.4 million shares of its stock, for $300 million. The purchase is part of its existing $500 million stock buyback program, and Hartford says it plans to buy back the $106 million worth of stock it has left under the program.

In afternoon trading, shares of The Hartford rose 47 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $20.57.