AM Best has affirmed the Long-Term Issue Credit Rating (Long-Term IR) of “a-” on the $470 million 4% senior unsecured notes, due May 2050, issued by W. R. Berkley Corporation (WRB) (Greenwich, CT) [NYSE:WRB]. The company has announced it will be issuing an additional $170 million of senior unsecured notes under that offering, bringing the total to $470 million. The outlook of the Credit Rating (rating) is stable.
Proceeds will be used for the partial redemption of WRB’s 5.625% subordinated notes, due 2053. WRB’s financial leverage and coverage metrics remain within guidelines for the rating following the increase in the principal amount of this security despite the partial replacement of the more equity-like hybrid security with senior debt, given that the senior debt component of the overall capital structure will remain within expectations. Following the partial redemption of the 2053 subordinated notes, unadjusted leverage will measure 32.4%, while adjusted leverage will measure 26.8%, reflecting equity credit for the hybrids.
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