NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fitch Ratings has assigned an 'A-' rating to MetLife, Inc.'s (MetLife) issuance of $1.25 billion of senior unsecured notes.
KEY RATING DRIVERS
The ratings are equivalent to the ratings assigned to MET's existing senior unsecured notes, and reflect standard notching based on Fitch's rating criteria. Fitch expects that proceeds from the issuance will be used for general corporate purposes, including funding debt maturities in 2016. As a result of 2016 maturities, Fitch considers the new issuance to be neutral to financial leverage.
MetLife's ratings were affirmed on Sept. 11, 2015, and continue to reflect Fitch's view that the company's strong balance sheet fundamentals, excellent financial flexibility, and very strong market positions in several major insurance product lines and markets in the U.S. and select international markets are consistent with rating expectations. Fitch believes that the company's large scale, very strong brand name, and large and diverse distribution capabilities provide significant competitive advantages.
Fitch's primary rating concerns include MetLife's above-average, albeit moderating exposure to the variable annuity business, above-average investment risk, and continued macroeconomic challenges associated with the ongoing low interest rate environment.
Key rating drivers that could lead to an upgrade of MetLife's ratings include NAIC risk-based capital ratio above 450%, financial leverage below 25%, and GAAP fixed charge coverage ratio above 9x.
Key rating drivers that could lead to a downgrade of MetLife's ratings include NAIC risk-based capital ratio below 350%, financial leverage above 30%, and GAAP fixed charge coverage ratio below 5x.
FULL LIST OF RATING ACTIONS
Fitch has assigned the following ratings:
--$750 million 4.60% senior unsecured notes due 2046 'A-';
--$500 million 3.60% senior unsecured notes due 2025 'A-'.
Additional information is available on www.fitchratings.com
Insurance Rating Methodology (pub. 16 Sep 2015)
Dodd-Frank Rating Information Disclosure Form