Standard & Poors Corp. yesterday lowered its rating on Capital Re Corp.'s senior debt to A from A-plus, and revised its long-term outlook on the company to stable from positive.
The agency affirmed its AAA rating on Capital Re's ability to pay claims on the bonds it insures.
The one-notch downgrade on the company's outstanding corporate bonds reflects Capital Re's "assumption of a somewhat more aggressive consolidated capital plan and business strategy and a corresponding decrease in financial flexibility," a Standard & Poor's statement says.
The move covers $75 million of debentures due in 2002 that Capital Re sold in 1992.
"Most of the bond insurers have diversification plans in place to offset the maturity of the municipal market and expected slower growth," said Robert Green, a Standard & Poor's director. Some of Capital Re's diversification plans, which contribute to higher leverage rates and lower coverage ratios, were a factor in the downgrade, Green said.
As part of its rating action, Standard & Poor's also assigned an A-minus rating to an offering of $75 million preferred stock that Capital Re plans to sell within the next few weeks. The offering is slated to be made through a new special purpose corporation, Capital Re LLC.
Capital Re shares closed yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange at 23 1/2, down 1/8.