Fitch lifts Old Republic to investment grade
Good news for HW 30 component Old Republic International Corp (ORI), which saw Fitch Ratings move the insurer to investment grade, raising the holding company's senior debt rating from 'BB+' to 'BBB-' late Friday.
The upgrade came as Fitch said it is far less concerned about any negative effects related to the run-off of Repubic Mortgage Insurance Company (RMIC), an Old Republic unit, as the insurer's portfolio's run-off book of business continues to shrink and as the company's other businesses gain strength.
"The rating action also relflects improved liquidity and ORI's return to operating earnings in the first-half 2013 following five consecutive years of operating losses," Fitch said in a statement.
Old Republic reported $250.2 million in net earnings for the first half of 2013, compared to a net loss of $33.5 million in the year-ago period.
Much of the gain came as the company is seeing strong growth in its MI business though subsidiary Republic Financial Indemnity Group, Inc.
ORI has performed well this year, with the stock tradiing up nearly 40% year to date. Shares were down slightly in afternoon trading ahead of an imminent government shutdown, off -0.62% at $15.21.