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AXIS Capital Redeems Preferreds

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Recently, AXIS Capital Holdings Limited (AXS - Free Report) declared that it will redeem all of its outstanding preferred shares which consist of 4 million of its 7.25% Series A Preferred Shares, par value $0.0125 per share and liquidation preference $25 per share. It represents $100 million in aggregate liquidation preference as on Jun 19, 2013. The redemption price is $25 per Preferred Share plus all declared and unpaid dividends through the redemption date.

Last week, AXIS Capital priced an offering of 8 million shares of 5.50% Series D Preferred Shares, par value $0.0125 per share and a liquidation preference at $200 million or $25 per share. Furthermore, AXIS Capital granted a 30-day option to the underwriters to buy up to 1.2 million additional Series D Preferred Shares. The proceeds from this $200 million issuance were deployed to redeem the outstanding Series A preferred securities and for general corporate purposes, including share buybacks.

Concurrent to the announcement, credit rating agency, A.M. Best allotted a debt rating of “bbb–” to the Series D non-cumulative redeemable preferred shares of AXIS Capital with a positive outlook. Fitch Ratings allotted a 'BBB' rating to the issue.

AXIS Capital reported first quarter 2013 earnings of $1.92 per share which breezed past the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.19 per share. Following the solid first quarter, most of the estimates were revised upward. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 moved to $5.05, representing a year-over-year improvement of 59.3%. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate is currently pegged at $4.65 per share, representing a year-over-year decline of 7.96%.

Among others in the industry, Homeowners Choice Inc. (HCI - Free Report) declared cash dividends of 5.833 cents per share on its Series A Cumulative redeemable preferred shares in Mar 2013, for the months ending Mar 31, Apr 30 and May 31, 2013.

AXIS Capital currently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Among other stocks, Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd. and American Safety Insurance Holdings Ltd share the same Zacks Rank and appear impressive.

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