TEXT - Fitch affirms Banque Marocaine pour le Commerce et l'Industrie

Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:13pm EST

(The following statement was released by the rating agency)
    Jan 14 - Fitch Ratings has affirmed Morocco-based Banque Marocaine pour le
Commerce et l'Industrie's (BMCI) National Long-term Rating at 
'AAA(mar)' with Stable Outlook and BMCE Bank's (BMCE) Support Rating at '3'. A 
full list of rating actions is at the end of this rating action commentary.

RATING DRIVERS AND SENSITIVITIES: BMCI's NATIONAL AND SUPPORT RATINGS 

BMCI's ratings are based on support from its majority (66.7%) shareholder, BNP 
Paribas (BNPP, 'A+'/Stable), if required. Given BNPP's strong capacity and 
history of support to group entities, Fitch believes that it is highly likely 
that BNPP would provide support to BMCI, if required. BMCI is of small size 
relative to BNPP, which makes financial support from BNPP easier to provide. 

In Fitch's view, BNPP remains committed to BMCI and the development of retail 
banking in North Africa. BMCI is consistently profitable and has a good presence
in the Moroccan retail market (fourth-largest bank by total assets; 6.6% of 
deposits). Fitch does not foresee a reduction in BNPP's presence in Morocco, 
which proved politically and economically resilient through 2011 and 2012. 
Moreover, BMCI is well integrated into BNPP. The latter controls BMCI's 
supervisory board, is well represented in the bank's senior management and 
tightly oversees its risks and business strategy. 

A downgrade of BMCI's National and Support Ratings may result from a reduction 
in BNPP's stake in BMCI or a multiple-notch downgrade of BNPP's Long-Term IDR, 
which Fitch does not expect. BMCI's Support Rating is constrained by Morocco's 
Country Ceiling of 'BBB'. BMCI's Support Rating could also be revised if 
Morocco's Country Ceiling was downgraded or upgraded significantly.

RATING DRIVERS AND SENSITIVITIES: BMCE's SUPPORT RATING

BMCE's Support Rating of '3' reflects Fitch's view that the Moroccan authorities
would provide support to BMCE Bank if needed, given its large franchise in the 
country. Nevertheless the probability of support is moderate considering 
Morocco's financial strength ('BBB-'/Stable).

BMCE is the third-largest banking group in terms of assets in Morocco, 
equivalent to 24% of the country's GDP at end-2011. It is largely owned by 
FinanceCom, a local private company (36.9% stake at end-2012), and France's 
Banque Federative du Credit Mutuel (BFCM; 'A+'/Stable), which holds a 26.2% 
stake. Fitch cannot assess FinanceCom's ability and willingness to support BMCE.
BFCM has a high ability to support BMCE. However, Fitch views it unlikely that 
BFCM would provide support to BMCE if required.

BMCE's Support Rating would be sensitive to a material downgrade of Morocco's 
sovereign Long-term foreign currency IDR.

The ratings actions are as follows: 

BMCI

National Long-Term Rating: affirmed at 'AAA(mar)'; Outlook Stable

National Short-Term Rating: affirmed at 'F1+(mar)'

Support Rating: affirmed at '2'

BMCE

Support Rating: affirmed at '3'

 (Caryn Trokie, New York Ratings Unit)
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