American Financial Group AFG announced the pricing of $200 million aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes. The notes carry an interest rate of 4.50% and are scheduled to mature on Sep 16, 2060.
The company plans to deploy the net proceeds for general corporate purposes that may include redemption of its $150 million aggregate principal amount of 6% subordinated debentures due 2055.
The company displayed prudence by issuing senior notes amid a low interest rate environment to procure funds and enhance financial flexibility without affecting liquidity. As of Jun 30, 2020 cash balance increased nearly three-fold to $496 million from 2019 end level.
By capitalizing on the low interest rate environment, the company is also attempting to reduce its interest burden, thus facilitating margin expansion. Also, the company’s operational strength should enable it to service debt uninterruptedly, thereby maintaining the stock’s creditworthiness.
However, with the new issuance, interest expense will increase. But we still believe that the company is in a strong position to clear debts, banking on operational efficiencies.
As of Jun 30, 2020, total debt of the company was about $1.9 billion, up 30% from 2019 end. Debt-to-total adjusted capital ratio of 27.8 deteriorated 670 basis points. The latest offering will increase the debt-to-equity ratio by 200 basis points.
American Financial has traditionally maintained moderate adjusted financial leverage around 20%, with good cash flow and interest coverage ratio. On Jun 30, 2020, excess capital was approximately $850 million, which will enable the company to meet the debt obligations. The company expects to have significant excess capital and liquidity throughout 2020 and beyond. It scores strongly with credit rating agencies.
Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) property and casualty insurer have lost 39.7% year to date compared with the industry’s decline of 7.5%.
Recently, W. R. Berkley Corporation WRB announced the pricing of $170 million aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes. The notes carry an interest rate of 4.00% and are scheduled to mature on Aug 15, 2050. MGIC Investment Corporation MTG issued $650 million in aggregate principal amount of 5.250% senior notes due 2028 while CNA Financial Corporation CNA issued 2.050% $500 million aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes due Aug 15, 2030 to capitalize on the low interest rate environment.
You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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