Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Principal In The News

Principal Financial's Ratings

Fitch Ratings has downgraded and placed on Rating Watch Negative the ratings of Principal Financial Group Inc. (PFG) and its subsidiaries. The downgrades and watch assignments include the insurer financial strength (IFS) ratings of PFG's primary life insurance company subsidiaries to 'AA-' from 'AA' and its holding company senior debt rating to 'A-' from 'A'. A full list of rating actions follows at the end of this release.

The downgrade reflects Fitch's ongoing review of PFG's exposure to the current credit market turmoil and expectation of continued deterioration in 2009.

The Negative Rating Watch reflects Fitch's concern over PFG's ability to successfully refinance a $455 million holding company debt maturity due later this year without drawing upon its insurance subsidiary capital. Fitch believes the adequacy of insurance company capital at the current 'AA-' insurer financial strength level will be tested in 2009 due to expected investment losses, without the added pressure of making significant dividend payments to the holding company. Therefore, Fitch will closely monitor the refinancing prospects for PFG. Inability to successfully refinance could result in a one-notch downgrade. Successful refinancing could result in an affirmation of current ratings with a Negative Outlook reflecting Fitch's industry view.
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