MetLife securities sale will expedite AIG payments to Treasury
Insurer American International Group (AIG) plans to expedite payments to the Treasury Department by selling its remaining securities in MetLife (MET), the insurance and mortgage giant that acquired AIG's American Life Insurance unit last year. AIG, which received an $85 billion federal bailout in September 2008, agreed to sell the life insurance unit to MetLife for $16.2 billion. As part of the deal, AIG agreed to hold MetLife securities for at least nine months. This week, AIG said MetLife, which originates mortgages through MetLife Bank, agreed to let AIG sell its remaining securities. The offering could raise enough cash for AIG to accelerate its payments back to the Treasury on interest associated with a special purpose vehicle that AIG holds its Metlife securities in. Proceeds from the offering also will pay down interest AIG owes to the Treasury on another SPV. AIG holds 146.8 million common and preferred shares of MetLife and $3 billion in equity units that are convertible to 67.8 million common shares. MetLife's stock is trading around $44.36 Wednesday morning. "We appreciate MetLife's agreement to permit the proposed sales," said Robert Miller, AIG Chairman in a statement. "As a result, AIG expects to take another major step forward. Seven weeks ago, we repaid the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in full. These sales, if completed, would put the government closer to recouping its investment in AIG." MetLife saw its fourth-quarter profit decline 82%, as the company felt the impact of derivative losses totaling $1.54 billion. On the mortgage side of its business, MetLife Bank saw its fourth quarter total operating revenue fall 6% to $355 million mostly from a decline in mortgage servicing revenue. Derivatives losses at parent company, MetLife Inc., disrupted what would have been a strong quarter with the insurer reporting a 65% rise in operating earnings. Write to Kerri Panchuk.