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AIG Opts Against Extending Support Period for ILFC

American International Group Inc., the insurer rescued by the U.S., opted for the first time in four quarters against extending the period in which it is committed to supporting plane-leasing and consumer-lending units.

AIG said in a regulatory filing today that it intends to provide support to International Lease Finance Corp. and American General Finance Corp. through Feb. 28, 2011, the same date the company gave in its annual report 10 weeks ago. “At the current time AIG believes that any further extension of such support will not be necessary,” the insurer said.

ILFC and American General regained access to outside funding after being shut out of the credit markets because of downgrades of New York-based AIG, which needed a $182.3 billion U.S. rescue. American General borrowed $3 billion through a secured term-loan facility in April, and ILFC raised capital in unsecured debt markets for the first time in two years this March.

“AIG now expects that ILFC will be able to meet its existing obligations as they become due for at least the next twelve months solely from its own future cash flows,” the company said in its filing. “AIG is continuing to explore strategic alternatives for AGF, including a potential sale of a majority interest.”

Selling Businesses

AIG, which is selling businesses to help repay the bailout, previously announced three-month extensions in February and both August and November of last year.

ILFC announced an agreement in April to sell a portfolio of 53 aircraft to Macquarie Aerospace Ltd. for about $2 billion. ILFC also amended two unsecured revolving credit lines totaling $4.5 billion.

“These transactions demonstrate renewed access to credit markets and provide necessary financial flexibility to minimize the likelihood and need for further AIG financial support or financing via the Federal Reserve,” Fitch Ratings said of ILFC in an April 30 note. The Los Angeles-based plane unit is among the biggest customers for both Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS.

Credit-default swaps used to hedge against losses on ILFC debt widened 85 basis points to 596 basis points, the highest since March, according to CMA DataVision. The swaps typically climb when investor confidence wanes.

CEO Search Underway

John Plueger retired as chief executive officer of ILFC in March, less than two months after founder and then-CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy stepped down. The unit’s Chief Financial Officer Alan Lund was named interim CEO, and “a search is underway for a permanent CEO,” AIG CEO Robert Benmosche said in a statement today.

AIG used bailout funds to prop up ILFC with a $1.7 billion credit line in March 2009 and $2 billion the following October.

American General was downgraded by Fitch on April 30 on the prospect AIG will discontinue support.

“Although Fitch believes AIG would support AGFC over the near term if needed, Fitch views that the long-term support of AGFC by AIG is less likely,” the ratings firm said in a statement as it cut the unit’s issuer default rating to B- from BB. That’s below investment-grade.

The consumer lender cut more than 1,000 jobs last year, scaled back lending, closed branches and sold mortgage-backed certificates to Credit Suisse Group AG.

Fitch maintained its BB-rating on ILFC, below investment-grade, citing increased liquidity from its debt and aircraft sales.

First Quarter Results

AIG today posted a first-quarter net income of $1.45 billion, as writedowns narrowed and investment income climbed, the insurer’s third profit in the past four quarters. ILFC had an operating loss of $56 million from impairment charges on the announced aircraft sales in the period, AIG said today in a statement. American General had an operating loss of $132 million.

ILFC has $7.6 billion of debt maturing from the second quarter of 2010 through the first quarter of 2011, AIG said today in a regulatory filing. For Evansville, Indiana-based American General, that figure is $4.3 billion.

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