ASR exchange offer outstanding hybrid securities upcoming
"ASR Nederland ("ASR") is the new name for Fortis Verzekeringen Nederland, and operates in the Netherlands under various names, including ASR Verzekeringen and Amersfoortse Verzekeringen. The Dutch State acquired 100% of the shares in ASR, formerly known as Fortis Verzekeringen Nederland on 3 October 2008 following developments at Fortis Group. The Dutch State, as a shareholder, aims to sell its shares in ASR back to the private sector in a manner that will ensure it remains operationally stable, financially sound and with a sufficient robust capital base to enable it to operate viably in the long term.
ASR has outstanding hybrid securities, two of which have a first optional Call Date at 26 April 2009. As an issuer, ASR values its relationship with the market, and envisages utilising hybrid capital within its capital structure in the future. ASR is currently focussing on the separation from Fortis Group and formulating a new capital and business strategy, of which the key elements will be announced on 2 April along with ASR's annual results. In addition to this, ASR is also in the process of establishing independent ratings, which are expected to be finalised in the coming months. Due to these factors, ASR will not exercise its option to redeem pursuant to the terms of these securities and expects to announce a proposal to exchange these existing securities in the coming months. As a major institutional investor, ASR also understands the perspective of bondholders regarding hybrid securities, and the decision not to exercise the call is not motivated solely by economic reasons. ASR has engaged Rabobank and UBS to manage this process.