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Credit upgrade likely for Converium Holding Ltd.


ZUG, Switzerland--Several rating agencies have placed Converium Holding Ltd. on review for a possible rating upgrade, following the reinsurer's announcement that it is to sell its North American operations.Zug, Switzerland-based Converium announced Tuesday it had reached an agreement to sell its North American reinsurance units, which are in runoff, to National Indemnity Co., a unit of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., for $295 million (€235 million).

Standard & Poor's Corp. said its BBB+ ratings had been placed on positive credit watch following the announcement.It added that it believed there was now a higher likelihood of Convereium reaching a settlement with regulators over inquiries into non-traditional insurance and reinsurance transactions.

"When the achievement of such a settlement becomes certain, Standard & Poor's will raise its counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings on Converium A.G. and its guaranteed operating entities to A- and remove the ratings from credit watch," it said.

Moody's Investors Service said it had placed its Baa1 ratings of Converium "on review for possible upgrade" following the announcement of the North American sale.Meanwhile, A.M. Best Co. said its B++ financial strength rating of Converium remains unchanged following the announcement, though it said it would continue to monitor Converium's progress on "recovering its business profile and improving its underwriting result in 2007."