October 2, 2008 / 4:07 PM / 9 years ago

Zurich writes down $615 mln of investments

ZURICH (Reuters) - Zurich Financial Services ZURN.VX is writing down $615 million worth of investments related to Sigma Finance Corp, Lehman Brothers LEHMQ.PK and Washington Mutual (WM.N), the Swiss insurer said on Thursday.

Zurich will write down $275 million due to the notice of default of Sigma Finance, a limited purpose finance company which announced this week it will cease trading as a result of financial-market turmoil.

Zurich also said it was taking an impairment of $295 million on its previously announced exposure to Lehman Brothers and a further $45 million related to Washington Mutual’s debt instruments.

“The write-down of our Sigma exposure, while reflecting the severity of the current market disruptions, should be seen in the context of our well-diversified portfolio of Group investments of nearly $200 billion,” Zurich Chief Investment Officer Martin Senn said in a statement.

“We remain confident that our disciplined approach continues to put us in a good position to weather the current financial-market crisis,” Senn said.

Zurich had previously said it had exposure of $250 million to Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc unsecured debt.

    The total of the writedowns represents about 0.3 percent of Zurich’s total investments, the company said, and will be taken as part of an impairment charge with its nine-month results, due to be released on Nov. 13.

    For a full statement click on [ZURN.VX-CNR]

    Reporting by Sam Cage; Editing by Quentin Bryar

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