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Tower reviewing ‘strategic options’ after reserve shortfall

Bermuda-based Tower Group International is reviewing a “range of strategic options” after the re/insurer determined it had to add $365 million to reserves and take a $215 million impairment of goodwill tied to its commercial, specialty and reinsurance segments.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is the lead financial adviser, Tower said in a statement.

The shares declined more than 40 percent to $4.39 yesterday.

The company, which has offices in the Bermuda Commercial Bank building in Hamilton, had already seen it share price drop 53 percent this year.

The “strategic options” phrase is Wall Street shorthand for deals that could include a capital injection, the divestiture of assets or the sale of an entire company, Bloomberg reported.

The results reflect a review of finances through June 30, and full second-quarter results will be disclosed when an evaluation is complete.

Tower's “competitive position has been materially damaged, negatively impacting the company's financial flexibility and ability to write new business,” Fitch Ratings said.

Fitch cut Tower's rating six steps, to B from BBB.

“Since 2010, Tower has been shifting its business mix, significantly de-emphasizing the lines that contributed to the reserve strengthening and modifying its book of commercial lines business,” the re/insurer said in its statement.

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Published October 09, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 08, 2013 at 7:53 pm)

Tower reviewing ‘strategic options’ after reserve shortfall

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