Oldwick, NJ -(BusinessWire)- A.M. Best Co. has commented that the financial strength, issuer credit and debt ratings of ProAssurance Corporation (PRA) (Birmingham, AL) (NYSE:PRA) remain unchanged following the announcement of PRA’s proposed acquisition of Eastern Insurance Holdings, Inc. (EIHI) (Lancaster, PA) (NASDAQ:EIHI).
Pursuant to the agreement, PRA will acquire all of the outstanding shares of EIHI in an all-cash transaction for $24.50 per share, which equates to a purchase price of approximately $205 million. The transaction is not expected to materially impact ProAssurance’s financial leverage (total debt and preferred to total capital) which, as of June 2013, was 5.6%. The acquisition is expected to close effective January 1, 2014, and is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.
EIHI is a Pennsylvania-based workers’ compensation insurer, which has a proven track record of growth and profitability. A portion of EIHI’s business is offered to medical professionals and facilities. In addition to traditional insurance, EIHI also utilizes segregated cell reinsurance captives via Eastern Re Ltd.
PRA views this as a strategic transaction and plans to retain all of EIHI’s senior management as well as EIHI’s offices. While execution risk is always a concern, it is somewhat mitigated by PRA’s proven track record of smoothly acquiring and integrating new acquisitions into the organization.