Troubled RSA sees ratings put on negative watch by Fitch

 
Kate McCann
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RATINGS agency Fitch has put RSA’s financial strength rating on negative watch after further concerns were raised about the insurer’s ability to maintain its position in the market.

And Standard and Poor’s cut its credit rating on RSA and its core subsidiaries from A to A-, arguing that a series of profit warnings indicate management weaknesses.

Fitch warned that a delay in appointing a new chief executive would further damage the company, which saw its share price fall to 90p at market close yesterday. “Some of RSA’s key financial metrics are weaker than its ratings would suggest,” Fitch said. It added that “renewed uncertainty regarding the ability of RSA to restore its capital position through retained earnings growth,” were contributing factors in the decision.

A Sunday newspaper printed claims that large investors in the FTSE 100 insurer had written to senior executives urging it to sell itself off.

Buyers including Axa, Allianz and Zurich were all said to be interested, but a spokesman for RSA denied that a letter had been received, adding that the company is in talks with all senior investors and a sale had not been mooted.