April 11 (Reuters) - (The following statement was released by the rating agency)
Fitch Ratings has placed the ‘AA-’ Insurer Financial Strength (IFS) rating of MONY Life Ins. Co. (MONY Life) on Rating Watch Negative following the announcement of its planned sale to Protective Life Corp. (Protective Life). This rating action has no impact on the ratings of MONY Life’s current parent, AXA Financial, Inc. (AXA Financial) or its other rated subsidiaries. See a complete list of ratings below.
Key Rating Drivers:
The Rating Watch Negative reflects the planned sale to a lower rated entity. Protective Life’s IFS rating is ‘A’. The ‘AA-’ IFS rating of MONY Life is based on the strength and support of AXA Financial and is consistent with the group’s core insurance subsidiaries. Per Fitch’s rating criteria, if a group announces that it has reached agreement to sell a previously supported entity and the buyer is identified, Fitch will likely place the entity’s rating on Rating Watch until the sale is complete.
Fitch expects to lower the IFS rating of MONY Life to Protective Life’s ‘A’ level when the transaction closes. If the acquisition does not close reasonably on schedule or otherwise runs into problems, Fitch would likely move MONY Life to either a stand-alone rating or a stand-alone rating with some uplift from AXA Financial’s ownership, consistent with Fitch’s criteria. Fitch expects to review all of AXA Financial’s ratings in conjunction with a review of AXA SA in the near future.
Fitch places the following rating on Rating Watch Negative:
MONY Life Insurance Co.
--IFS at ‘AA-'.
The following ratings are unaffected by this rating action. The Outlook for all ratings is Negative:
AXA Financial, Inc.
--Long-term IDR ‘A’;
--Senior unsecured debt ‘A-’
--Commercial paper ‘F1’.
AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company
--Long-term IFS rating ‘AA-';
--Long-term IDR ‘A+';
--Surplus notes ‘A’.
AXA Equitable Life and Annuity Company
MONY Life Insurance Company of America
US Financial Life Insurance Company
--Long-term IFS rating ‘AA-'