Storebrand Declines as Moody’s Sees Earnings Threat: Oslo Mover

Storebrand ASA, Norway’s second largest insurer, fell the most in a week in Oslo trading after Moody’s Investors Service said increased reserve requirements will curb profitability.

Shares in the Oslo-based insurer dropped as much as 3.5 percent, the most since March 11, and extending the decline since the reserves rules were announced to 6.7 percent. Life insurance providers in Norway must boost premiums and reserves to compensate for longer life expectancy, the nation’s Financial Supervisory Authority said on March 8.

That will “lead to reductions in Storebrand’s capitalization and profitability” over the “near-to-medium term,” Moody’s said in a March 15 statement. The ratings company cut its outlook on the insurer’s debt to negative from stable as a result of the new requirements, which are “more onerous” than envisaged, it said.

The changes will raise Storebrand’s total reserves requirement to 11.5 billion kroner ($2 billion), the company said on March 11. At least 20 percent of the increase must be covered by the company’s shareholders, the regulator said.

Shares in Storebrand traded 2.6 percent lower at 25.34 kroner as of 1:45 p.m. Gjensidige Forsikring ASA, the largest insurer, which owns 24 percent of Storebrand, fell as much as 1.2 percent to 95.3 kroner.

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