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Hartford Financial to Buyback Debt

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Recently, Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG - Free Report) announced a cash tender offer to repurchase senior debt worth $800 million. This includes $300 million aggregate principal amount of the First Tranche Dutch Auction Notes, $150 million aggregate principal amount of the Second Tranche Dutch Auction Notes and $350 million of Waterfall Notes.

The First Tranche Dutch Auction Notes of Hartford Financial include 7.3% debentures due 2015, 6.3% Senior Notes due 2018 and 6% Senior Notes due 2019. The Second Tranche Dutch Auction Notes include 5.5% Senior Notes due 2016, 5.375% Senior Notes due 2017, 4% Senior Notes due 2017 and 4% Senior Notes due 2015.

The Waterfall Notes include 7.650% debentures due 2027, 7.375% Senior Notes due 2031, 6.625% Senior Notes due 2042, 6.625% Senior Notes due 2040, 5.95% Senior Notes due 2036 and 6.1% Senior Notes due 2041.

This offer is a part of Hartford Financial’s capital management plan, announced with its fourth-quarter 2012 earnings. The company plans to reduce its outstanding debt by $1 billion, including repayment of debt worth $520 million, which is due in 2013 and 2014.

Additionally, Hartford Financial plans to issue new long-term senior debt securities equal to a maximum of the amount of Waterfall Notes repurchased. These debt repayments and issue of senior debt securities will cumulatively reduce the total debt by the ascertained amount.

The capital management plan also includes an extraordinary dividend of $1.2 billion to be paid by Hartford Financial’s Connecticut-based life insurance companies and dissolution of its Vermont life reinsurance captive. Additionally, the board authorized a $500 million share repurchase program, which will expire in 2014-end.

While Hartford Financial currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), other multi-line insurance companies worth considering are AEGON N.V. (AEG - Free Report) , Ageas SA/NV (AGESY - Free Report) and CNO Financial Group Inc. (CNO - Free Report) . All these are Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks.

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