LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AM Best has placed under review with developing implications the Financial Strength Ratings of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings of “a-” of Axéria Prévoyance (Axéria) (France) and Axeria Re Limited (Axeria Re) (Malta).
These Credit Rating (rating) actions follow April S.A.’s (April) announcement on 29 December 2018 that its majority shareholder, SAS Evolem, had entered into exclusive negotiations with CVC Capital Partners (CVC), to acquire SAS Evolem’s equity holding in April, the listed holding company of the April group and intermediate parent company of Axéria and Axeria Re.
Under the terms of the agreement, CVC would acquire SAS Evolem’s 65.1% equity stake in April at a price of EUR 22 per share, subject to any cost adjustment (or best estimate thereof) arising from any dividend distribution to occur and from a proposed tax reassessment notified by the French tax authorities concerning the territoriality of the reinsurance business conducted by Axeria Re, which was announced on 24 December 2018. Upon completion of the acquisition of SAS Evolem’s majority stake in the April group, it is expected that CVC will make a public tender offer for the remainder of April’s share capital, at the same price as that paid to SAS Evolem.
A definitive agreement for the acquisition of SAS Evolem’s stake in April could be entered into upon completion of the relevant legal procedures concerning employment regulations in France. The completion of the transaction also is subject to regulatory approval, with closing expected during the second quarter of 2019.
These ratings have been placed under review with developing implications, as AM Best needs to assess the impact of the planned change in ownership on the balance sheet strength, operating performance, business profile and ERM assessments of Axéria and Axeria Re, as well as the impact on the April group's operations and future strategy. AM Best will conduct detailed discussions with the April group and its rated entities to assess the impact of the planned transaction on their rating fundamentals. AM Best expects the ratings to remain under review pending the completion of the transaction.
The rating action for Axeria Re also reflects uncertainty arising from the aforementioned tax reassessment by the French tax authorities. AM Best will continue to monitor developments to assess the impact of any penalty incurred on Axeria Re’s credit fundamentals. Furthermore, AM Best expects that the April group would provide prompt and sufficient support to Axeria Re should it be required.
This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on AM 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 see AM Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Understanding Best’s Credit Ratings. For information on the proper media use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best press releases, please view Guide for Media - Proper Use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best Rating Action Press Releases.
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