OFFICIAL-TEXT-S&P : Ratings on SIX Group unaffected

Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:36am EST

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(Agency corrects In the bulletin published earlier today, the ratings on Deutsche Boerse AG were misstated. A corrected version follows.) (The following statement was released by the rating agency)

Dec 20 - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that its ratings on SIX Group AG (AA-/Stable/A-1+), SIX SIS AG (AA/Stable/A-1+), and SIX x-clear AG (AA/Stable/A-1+) are unaffected by the group's Dec. 17 announcement that it is acquiring Oslo Clearing ASA. The purchase price is approximately Norwegian krone (NOK) 180 million (about Swiss francs 30 million).

The transaction, which has been approved by Norway's Oslo Bors' board of directors and SIX Group's board of directors, remains subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the second quarter 2014.

We consider the Olso Clearing acquisition to be notable because it demonstrates SIX Group's intention to grow outside of its core Swiss market, but is unlikely to transform the group's already strong business profile. Underlying this view is the relatively small size of the transaction and the likely strong competition that SIX Group will face in over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives clearing. Together, this means that even if SIX Group is successful in developing a profitable business in this space, this activity could be a modest contributor to group earnings.

SIX Group exhibits a strong balance sheet with no debt leverage and strong liquidity, in our view. In January 2012, it sold its participation in Eurex to its joint venture partner, Deutsche Boerse AG (AA/Negative/A-1+), for EUR590 million. The sales contract includes a noncompetition clause. As a result, SIX Group will not be able to complete the Oslo Clearing transaction until May 2014. Past this period, the group, through SIX x-clear, will be able to clear derivatives instruments, including OTC derivatives.

RELATED CRITERIA AND RESEARCH

-- SIX Group AG, Dec. 13, 2012

-- Group Rating Methodology And Assumptions, Nov. 9, 2011

-- Analytical Approach To Assessing Nonoperating Holding Companies, March 17, 2009

-- Standard & Poor's Updated Methodology For Rating Exchanges And Clearinghouses, July 10, 2006

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