OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A.M. Best has placed under review with negative implications the financial strength rating (FSR) of A- (Excellent) and the issuer credit rating (ICR) of “a-” of American Health and Life Insurance Company (AHLIC). Concurrently, A.M. Best has placed the FSR of A (Excellent) and the ICR of “a” of Triton Insurance Company (Triton) under review with negative implications. The companies are currently ultimately owned by Citigroup Inc. [NYSE:C]. Both companies are domiciled in Fort Worth, TX.
The rating actions follow the announcement that Springleaf Holdings, Inc. (Springleaf) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire OneMain Financial Holdings, Inc. (the insurance companies’ direct parent) from CitiFinancial Credit Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Citigroup Inc., for total consideration of $4.25 billion in cash. The under review with negative implications reflects the proposed acquisition by Springleaf, a parent that is a below investment grade consumer finance company and whose operating flexibility and business profile had been challenged by the credit crisis and the subsequent difficult macroeconomic environment. While A.M. Best notes that Springleaf has made progress in recent periods in repaying near-term debt and extending its liquidity runway, along with an improving operating performance and the establishment of secured funding facilities (added $1 billion back-up liquidity lines that are currently undrawn) to support loan origination, financial leverage is expected to rise due to the OneMain acquisition.
The ratings will remain under review pending further discussions with management and the close of the transaction, which is expected in the third quarter of 2015. Following the completion of the acquisition, A.M. Best would expect a multi-level downgrade of Triton and AHLIC’s ratings, consistent with Springleaf’s rated insurance operations.
The methodology used in determining these ratings is Best’s Credit Rating Methodology, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best’s rating process and contains the different rating criteria employed in the rating process. Best’s Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.
Key insurance criteria reports utilized:
- Risk Management and the Rating Process for Insurance Companies
- Understanding BCAR for U.S. and Canadian Life/Health Insurers
- Rating Members of Insurance Groups
- Evaluating Non-Insurance Ultimate Parents
- Understanding BCAR for Property/Casualty Insurers
This press release relates to rating(s) that have been published on A.M. Best's website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please visit A.M. Best’s Ratings & Criteria Center.
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