CNA Financial Corporation (CNA - Free Report) has recently announced the pricing of $500 million senior notes, scheduled for expiry in Aug 2027. The notes will be issued at a coupon rate of 3.450 and yield 3.477% on maturity.
CNA Financial estimates about $495 million net proceeds from this offering. The company intends to deploy proceeds from the notes to repay 6.950% $150 million senior notes due in Jan 2018. CNA Financial will also utilize the proceeds in repurchase, redemption and repayment of 7.350% $350 million senior notes due in Nov 2019. The remainder, if any, will be deployed in short-term interest-bearing securities.
CNA Financial’s debt-to-equity ratio at second-quarter end was 18.4%, improved merely 10 basis points from 2016-end level. With the new issuance, the ratio is expected to jump 270 basis points. However, the leverage ratio will still remain within the company’s target range of 20-25%.
Though with the new issuance, interest expense will increase. But we still believe the company is well-positioned to smoothly clear debts, banking on operational strength.
It seems a prudent approach by CNA Financial to capitalize on the low interest rate environment to procure funds. Also, this might lower the interest burden on borrowings, facilitating margin expansion. Though the Federal Reserve has made three consecutive hikes in the last three quarters (December, March and June, respectively), the rate environment still remains low.
Shares of CNA Financial have rallied 28.1% quarter to date, outperforming the industry’s gain of 9.5%. We believe, the company’s improving long-term care business, maintenance of combined ratio at favorable levels, robust capital position and a solid payout should continue to drive shares.
CNA Financial carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Stocks to Consider
A few other better-ranked property and casualty insurers are First American Financial Corporation (FAF - Free Report) , State Markel Corporation (MKL - Free Report) and Mercury General Corporation (MCY - Free Report) , each flaunting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
First American Financial provides financial services. The company has delivered positive surprises in the last four quarters with an average beat of 12.64%.
Markel markets and underwrites specialty insurance products in the United States and internationally. The company has delivered positive surprises in two of the last four quarters with an average beat of 21.06%.
Mercury General engages in writing personal automobile insurance in the United States. The company has delivered positive surprises in three of the last four quarters with an average beat of 1.06%.
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