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Benmosche Upbeat on AIG Prospects, To Repay Government by 2013

Posted on 05 Apr 2010

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Robert Benmosche, chief executive of American International Group Inc., is feeling pumped.

In an interview Thursday with Reuters, he rattled off several recent developments he sees as good signs for the struggling insurance giant, which is trying to become an independent company again after receiving a massive government bailout. He also said he is "pretty comfortable" the bailed-out insurer will be able to repay the U.S. government before the 2013 expiration of its credit line.

Robert Benmosche told Reuters that selling AIG unit AIA Group Ltd. to Prudential P.L.C. and life insurance unit American Life Insurance Co. (ALICO) to MetLife Inc. will bring the company to a point at which it can begin formal discussions with the government about an exit.

"We haven't locked in a date (for repayment)," he said, noting the insurer's priority is to complete these two asset sales.

"We think over the next 12 to 18 months we can see our way clear to working through some of our issues.

"The most important thing is to raise enough money so that we can pay back the Federal Reserve," he added in the telephone interview.

On Thursday, ratings agency Standard & Poor's raised its "standalone" credit rating on AIG by a notch to double-B, a speculative-grade rating two notches below the investment-grade category.