March 31, 2009 / 1:33 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-Conseco amends credit facility, shares soar

* Amends credit facility

* Q4 oper profit trails estimates

* Interest rate payable rises to 7.5 pct

* Minimum level of statutory capital lowered to $1.1 bln

* Shares up 35 pct (Adds Q4 results, adds share closing)

March 31 (Reuters) - Conseco Inc (CNO.N), a Midwestern U.S. life and accident insurer, said it completed the amendment of an existing senior secured credit facility, sending its shares up 35 percent.

Separately, the company posted a fourth-quarter loss of $451.8 million, or $2.45 a share, compared with a loss of $71.5 million, or 38 cents a share, a year ago.

Net operating income was 26 cents a share.

Analysts were looking for a profit of 29 cents a share, excluding items, according to Reuters Estimates.

Earlier this month, Conseco said it would delay the filing of its annual regulatory filing and said it was continuing to provide information and analysis to address concerns regarding liquidity and debt covenant margins raised by auditors.

Due to the amendment, Conseco’s current cash interest rate on the $911.8 million outstanding under the credit facility was raised to 7.5 percent from about 2.6 percent and additional restrictions were also placed on its ability to incur other debts.

The amendment increases the company’s debt to capital ratio through June 30, 2010 to 32.5 percent, and decreases the minimum level of statutory capital to $1.1 billion through June 30, 2010.

The minimum risk based capital ratio was lowered to 200 percent and interest coverage ratio was cut to 1.5 through June 30, 2010.

The amendment made no changes to the amount borrowed under the credit facility, to the principal repayment schedule or to the collateral pledged as security for the facility, the company said.

Earlier this month, the company had warned of a possible default under its credit facility if auditors raised doubts over its ability to continue as a going concern.

Shares of the company closed up 24 cents at 92 cents Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee and Anurag Kotoky in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy and Deepak Kannan)

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