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MBIA CEO: Bond Insurer Is Done Raising Capital

CNBC.com with Wires
Tuesday, 26 Feb 2008 | 4:46 PM ET

MBIA, the world's biggest bond insurer, is finished raising significant dilutive capital, CEO Jay Brown told CNBC.

"Never say never, but I think we're through raising significant dilutive capital," Brown said during a live interview after the market close. But the company has "additional things to do," he added.

MBIA CEO on Bond Insurance
In an exclusive interview, Jay Brown, MBIA CEO discusses his outlook on bond insurance, with CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.

MBIA, which has been scrambling to raise cash to hang on to its crucial Triple A rating, said Monday it is eliminating its quarterly dividend in a bid to save the company $174 million a year.

The company also said it will stop ensuring new derivative credit contracts, and suspended the writing of new structured finance business for the next six months.

In the CNBC interview, MBIA's recently installed chairman and chief executive said he is hoping the company's market capitalization, which is now around $3 billion, will be closer to $10 billion in five or six years.

Shares of MBIA rose Tuesday after Moody's Investors Service affirmed its key AAA rating.

The rating agency - whose decision mirrors an earlier decision made on Monday by Standard & Poor's - said its action reflected MBIA's efforts to raise capital that may be needed to pay losses of bonds it has insured.

Moody's also changed MBIA's outlook to negative.

MBIA has been trying to mollify ratings agencies that are threatening to downgrade its financial strength rating because of exposure to risky mortgage debt.

If Moody's or S&P had stripped MBIA Insurance Corp of its top ratings, bond markets could have been sent into turmoil and new bond issuance could have slowed, cutting into revenue for Moody's.

"The affirmation might indicate the disaster is peaking, and the worst is behind the rating agencies," said Edward Atorino, analyst at Benchmark Co in New York who rates Moody's a "buy."

MBIA has already sold $1.6 billion in stock and $1 billion in bonds to fortify its cushion of capital used to pay claims. But as the canceled dividend shows, the company appears willing to take further steps to maintain its top-notch rating.

"MBIA will continue to take reasonable and prudent actions such as this dividend elimination in an effort to retain and strengthen our Triple-A ratings," Brown said in a statement.

MBIA insures $670 billion in bonds. A rating downgrade could make it more difficult for businesses and municipalities that rely on those bonds to borrow money.

--Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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