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Axa completes $15B acquisition of XL Group, ratings upgraded

Posted On: Sep. 12, 2018 4:53 PM CST

Axa completes $15B acquisition of XL Group, ratings upgraded

France’s Axa SA has completed its $15.3 billion acquisition of Bermuda-based XL Group Ltd., Axa said in a statement Wednesday.

Fitch Ratings then upgraded the ratings of XL unit XLIT following the completion of the mega-merger, which was announced in March.

The completion of the transaction follows the fulfillment of customary closing conditions, including approval by XL Group shareholders and completion of all necessary regulatory approvals, the statement said.

“The completion of this transaction marks a significant milestone in our strategic ambition to further improve the balance between technical and financial margin,” Thomas Buberl, CEO of Axa, said in the statement. “This transaction accelerates our transformation, allowing us to deliver enhanced solutions and services to a greater number of clients, and provides opportunities for significant long-term value creation for our stakeholders, with increased risk diversification, strong underwriting discipline, higher cash remittance potential as well as reinforced growth prospects."

“We have our sights focused on success and together with Axa, our offering is truly compelling: we have the right geographical footprint, expert teams and a culture that constantly strives for innovation,” Greg Hendrick, CEO of Axa XL, said in the statement.

After the announcement, Fitch Ratings upgraded the ratings of XLIT Ltd., a Cayman Islands-based subsidiary of XL Group Ltd., and its property/casualty insurance and reinsurance subsidiaries, Fitch said in its statement Wednesday.

Fitch upgraded XL's core operating subsidiaries insurer financial strength rating one notch to 'AA-', the issuer default rating to 'A' and senior unsecured debt ratings to 'A-', the statement said.

“Axa is a very strong, larger multiline organization with a greater presence in U.S. commercial property/casualty insurance and global reinsurance markets following the XL purchase,” Fitch said. “Axa continues to be the largest insurer in Europe as measured by gross written premiums and has a strong presence in major insurance markets worldwide.”

Fitch also upgraded the issuer financial strength ratings to 'AA-' from 'A+' with outlook stable for XL Bermuda Ltd., XL Insurance Switzerland Ltd., XL Insurance Co. SE, XL Insurance America Inc., XL Reinsurance America Inc., XL Re Europe SE, XL Insurance Co. of New York Inc., XL Specialty Insurance Co., Indian Harbor Insurance Co., Greenwich Insurance Co. and XL Select Insurance Co., the statement said.

In connection with the completion of the acquisition, XL Group’s common shares ceased trading prior to market opening today and will be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange and the Bermuda Stock Exchange, the Axa statement said.