Ratings agency sees potential for weaker earnings after new strategic plan unveiled

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AIG’s credit outlook has been cut to negative from stable by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s.

The downgrade comes after AIG unveiled a new strategic plan, returning $25bn (£17bn) to shareholders, selling a 20% stake in its United Guaranty Corp mortgage insurance division, and hiving off $22bn of underperforming policies into a legacy company.

“The revised outlook reflects the potential for weaker earnings due to the divestiture of UGC, reduced investment income as capital is returned to shareholders, and the lack of improvement in projected interest expense in 2016 and 2017,” S&P said.

AIG chief executive Peter Hancock (pictured) is fighting off a campaign let by shareholder activist Carl Icahn to split the company into three and return more capital to shareholders.