Share of Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) dropped -0.19% and is at $53.95 in the Real-Time trading session. The company opened at $54.36 on Tuesday, and is moving between $53.70 – $54.45, through the day.
A.M. Best has commented that the financial strength rating of A+ (Superior) and the issuer credit rating of “aa-” of Zurich Insurance Company Limited (ZIC) (Switzerland) and its rated associates are unchanged following the declaration that Zurich Insurance Group Ltd’s (Switzerland) U.S. non-life partner, Zurich American Insurance Company (ZAIC) (New York), will acquire 100% of Rural Community Insurance Agency Inc. (RCIA) and its wholly owned partner, Rural Community Insurance Company (RCIC) (Anoka, MN), together known as Rural Community Insurance Services (RCIS) from Wells Fargo & Company (Wells Fargo) (WFC), a financial services organisation in the United States.
This rating commentary follows Zurich’s declaration on 18 December 2015, that the group has reached a definitive agreement to acquire a 100% stake in RCIS, which will be funded with cash for a value of about USD 675 million. A.M. Best believes that the scale of the acquisition is unlikely to have a negative impact on Zurich’s rating fundamentals. RCIS wrote gross written premium (GWP) of about USD 2 billion contrast with Zurich’s stated GWP of USD 55 billion in 2014. ZAIC is fully owned by ZIC, the main operating company of the Zurich group of companies (together known as Zurich), whilst RCIS is ultimately owned by Wells Fargo.
The transaction is in line with Zurich’s planned objectives to prioritise investments in business segments where the group maintains a distinct competitive advantage. The purchase is predictable to exceed Zurich’s hurdle rate of 10% return on investment in 2017, thereby enhancing the diversity of the group’s General Insurance portfolio and strengthening its earnings. The acquisition of RCIS is aligned with the group’s formerly declared plans to deploy about USD 3 billion of excess capacity by 2016.
Mondelez International Inc (NASDAQ:MDLZ) declined -0.26% right now and is at $44.33. The 52-week range of the share price is from $33.97 – $48.58. The company has total market capitalization of $70.76 billion.
Andrew Hamlin, VP and Portfolio Manager, Aston Hill Asset Administration, highlighted his top 3 picks on BNN on Friday Citi, Mondelez, and Titanium Transportation Group. Here is a brief summary of each pick:
Mondelez (MDLZ) is in all the right products with high growth associated with them (candy, gum, and biscuits) and it is also a margin improvement story. EBIT margins are predictable to accelerate to 15%-16% in 2016 and Mondelez has managed to achieve double-digit EPS growth which is roughly double its peer group (12% vs. 6%). Near term growth opportunities for the company comprise: 1) new packaging opportunities (e.g. hand-to-mouth mini-size packages), 2) biscuit sales in India, 3) gum sales in China, 4) the global roll-out of Oreo Thins, and 5) broader roll out of bubbly or fruit-infused chocolate.
Shares of ACE Limited (NYSE:ACE), gained 0.66%, and is now trading at $116.02. Its overall volume is 498,787.00 million shares right now, and average trading volume of 2.10 million.
ACE Limited (ACE) declared the leadership team it intends to appoint for the Boston Region of the company’s North America field organization. The appointments will take effect upon completion of the acquisition of Chubb, which is predictable in the first quarter of 2016.
Mitchell C. Schmidt will serve as Senior Vice President, North America Insurance, and Regional Executive Officer (REO) of the Boston Region. Presently, Mr. Schmidt is REO, Northeast, ACE USA. Mr. Schmidt, who was named in an earlier declaration to serve as Regional Chief Operating Officer (RCOO) for the Boston Region, will have responsibilities that were formerly declared for John M. Swords, who will be retiring from Chubb at the end of 2015. Mr. Schmidt will report to Harold L. Morrison, Jr., who, as formerly declared, will serve as Senior Vice President of the new Chubb Group and Division President, Field Operations for the North America Insurance division.
As REO, Mr. Schmidt will be responsible for executing the underwriting and sales strategies of the new Chubb’s business units, staff administration, production, profit and loss, and distribution administration in the Boston Region, which will be one of eight North America Insurance regions across the United States and Canada. In addition to his REO duties, Mr. Schmidt will manage the Boston office.
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