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Converium completes North American sale


ZUG, Switzerland— Converium Holding Ltd. has completed the sale of its North American operations to National Indemnity Co., a unit of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Converium in October announced that it would sell the operations, which are in runoff, for $95 million in cash and $200 million in debt.

After Converium announced completion of the deal, Standard & Poor's Corp. said its BBB+ rating of the Zug, Switzerland-based reinsurer remained on positive creditwatch.

S&P said it "views the transaction favourably" as it enables Converium to achieve a "clean-cut" sale to a reputable buyer "whose new ownership does not disadvantage policy or debt-holders of its former North American operations."

As a result, S&P said, "the group has successfully removed one of the two obstacles to a possible upgrade." The remaining hurdle to an upgrade, S&P said, is the resolution of United States regulatory investigations which, the rating agency said, now is more likely to be achieved in the-short term and at a cost that is not material.

Fitch Ratings upgraded Converium to BBB+ from BBB- in the wake of completion of the sale.