TEXT-S&P affirms Inter-American Investment 'AA/A-1+' ratings

Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:30pm EST

Overview
     -- Following a review of the Inter-American Investment Corp. (IIC) under 
our revised criteria for multilateral lending institutions (MLI), we have 
affirmed our 'AA/A-1+' foreign currency issuer credit ratings on IIC. 
     -- IIC's stand-alone credit profile is 'aa' and the issuer credit rating 
is 'AA', based on its "adequate" business profile and its "extremely strong" 
financial profile. 
     -- The outlook remains stable, reflecting our expectation that IIC will 
maintain a strong funding structure, capitalization, and liquidity, as well as 
our expectation that other Inter-American Development Bank Group shareholders 
will assume the 2% of total shares that the U.S. relinquished.

Rating Action
On Dec. 11, 2012, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed its 'AA/A-1+' 
foreign currency issuer credit ratings on Inter-American Investment Corp. 
(IIC). The outlook remains stable.

Rationale
The ratings on IIC reflect its "extremely strong" financial profile and its 
"adequate" business profile, as our criteria define these terms. The financial 
profile reflects our view of IIC's capital levels relative to its risk profile 
and its balance-sheet liquidity. Its business profile reflects its membership 
in the Inter-American Development Bank Group, its track record on payments of 
capital contributions, the size of its $1 billion loan portfolio, and the 
embedded risk in its lending to private-sector borrowers, principally banks. 

IIC, founded by international treaty in 1985, provides financing without a 
sovereign guarantee to small and medium-size private-sector enterprises (SMEs) 
in Latin America and the Caribbean. IIC provides loans and guarantees to SMEs 
and makes equity investments, although these remain a small share of assets. 

IIC's "adequate" business profile reflects the constraints of the 
corporation's niche mandate to lend to small and medium enterprises in Latin 
America and the operational risk this entails, while its sister institution, 
the Inter-American Development Bank, lends to larger private-sector 
enterprises and project finance. Moreover, the institution's lending has not 
been as countercyclical as other MLIs, notably during the last downturn. IIC's 
business profile also reflects the strength of the institution's governance, 
limited risk appetite, conservative liquidity and capitalization policies, and 
management expertise and continuity.  

Under our revised criteria, we distinguished "preferred creditor treatment," 
which occurs when borrowing governments pay an MLI before other creditors, 
from "preferential treatment," which governments under stress may provide MLI 
lenders to the private sector, for example, by not restricting access to 
foreign exchange for debt service or dividend payments. IIC's borrowing 
members have afforded it preferential treatment, in our view, in support of 
its mandate. 

The majority of IIC shareholders made timely payment of subscriptions under 
the last capital increase (in 1999), which affirms their support for IIC's 
mandate. However, the U.S., IIC's largest shareholder, now holder of 23% of 
shares, had delays paying in its new capital subscriptions. The IIC board 
approved a rescheduling of U.S. arrears in 2008. In 2012, the U.S. paid in a 
portion of the remaining shares, but the U.S. relinquished its remaining 
unpaid shares (2% of total shares, equivalent to $15.8 million). We expect 
that another member shareholder of the Inter-American Development Bank Group 
will take up the relinquished shares. The subscription delays and the 
relinquishment of shares by the largest shareholder lower our perception of 
shareholder support for the institutional mandate.  

Strong capitalization anchors IIC's "extremely strong" financial profile. We 
have adopted, as a component of our new criteria, a capital adequacy analysis 
framework that applies risk weights to IIC's shareholders' equity based on its 
asset exposures. IIC's baseline risk-adjusted capital (RAC; adjusted common 
equity divided by risk-weighted assets) ratio was 61% at year-end 2011. The 
RAC ratio after MLI-specific adjustments was higher, at 92%. IIC's markets of 
operation are diversified across Latin America, but it has a significant 
sector concentration as a second-floor lender to many banks (70% of loans at 
the end of 2011). The higher adjusted RAC ratio derives from IIC's geographic 
diversification and a cap on risk weights assigned to equity investments, 
given IIC's already strong capital position. 

Ample liquidity and a diversified and proactive funding strategy reduce IIC's 
rollover risk and size constraints for capital market access. A diverse 
funding strategy largely offsets the infrequency of IIC's global capital 
market issuance. This funding strategy consists of new and increased issuance 
in Mexican and other Latin American bond markets, credit lines from several 
international banks, global geographic diversification of lenders, financial 
support from IADB (which we expect to remain in place), and IIC's practice of 
issuing long-term debt to match the medium- to long-term maturities of its 
investments.

IIC maintained cover for 12 months of debt service and scheduled loan 
disbursements at the end of 2011, and we believe its holdings are of 
sufficient quality that it could meet these commitments over a one-year 
horizon under an extreme 'AAA' stress scenario. IIC has tended to use less 
leverage, reflecting its higher-risk mandate, than small MLI peers in recent 
years. The corporation's leverage--debt to shareholders' equity--increased to 
1.2x in November following a $350 million global bond issue from 0.9x at the 
end of 2011.

Outlook
The stable outlook reflects our expectation that IIC will maintain its 
"extremely strong" financial profile, as well as our expectation that other 
Inter-American Development Bank Group shareholders will assume the 
relinquished shares.

Related Criteria And Research
     -- Multilateral Lending Institutions And Other Supranational Institutions 
Ratings Methodology, Nov. 26, 2012
     -- Inter-American Investment Corp., July 24, 2012
     -- Supranationals Special Edition 2011, Sept. 23, 2011
     -- Standard & Poor's Risk-Adjusted Capital Framework Provides Insight 
Into Basel III, June 9, 2011
     -- Principles Of Credit Ratings, Feb. 16, 2011
     -- Bank Capital Methodology and Assumptions, Dec. 6, 2010
     -- For Development Banks, Callable Capital Is No Substitute For Paid-In 
Capital, Dec. 31, 2009
     -- How Preferred Creditor Support Enhances Ratings, June 15, 1999


Ratings List
Ratings Affirmed

Inter-American Investment Corp.
 Issuer Credit Rating
  Foreign Currency                      AA/Stable/A-1+     
 Senior Unsecured                       AA                 



Temporary telephone contact number: Kelli Bissett (347) 439-2680.




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