(The following was released by the rating agency)
March 24, 2011—Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services today lowered its long-term sovereign credit rating on the Republic of Portugal to ‘BBB’ from ‘A-‘. The ‘A-2’ short-term rating remains unchanged. The ratings remain on CreditWatch with negative implications, where they were placed on Nov. 30, 2010, pending the official announcement about the European Stability Mechanism. Standard & Poor’s believes this downgrade could have a negative effect on the creditworthiness of three rated Portuguese insurers, which are the operating companies of Millenniumbcp-Ageas Grupo Segurador S.G.P.S. S.A. (MAGS): Ocidental Companhia Portuguesa de Seguros de Vida S.A., Ocidental Companhia Portuguesa de Seguros S.A., and Companhia Portuguesa de Seguros de Saude S.A. (all rated A-/Watch Neg/—). We expect to publish a more detailed analysis, including any effect on our credit ratings on these insurers, as soon as permitted to do so under applicable EU law. The delay in our communication is to meet the requirements of EU credit rating agency regulation.