TEXT-Fitch assigns VTB Bank's (France) certificats de depot programme 'F3' rating

Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:52am EST

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(The following statement was released by the rating agency)

Feb 26 - Fitch Ratings has assigned VTB Bank (France)'s (VTBF) Certificats de Depot (CDs) programme an 'F3' rating.

The CDs under the programme will be issued from time to time up to a total maximum outstanding amount of EUR350m. The CDs' maturity will range from 1 to 365 days.

Key Rating Drivers

The programme's rating corresponds to VTBF's foreign currency Issuer Default Ratings ('BBB'/Negative/'F3'). These in turn are aligned with the IDRs of its ultimate parent, Russia-based Bank VTB ('BBB'/Negative), reflecting Fitch's opinion that there would be a high probability of support from VTB, if required. This opinion factors in VTBF's high integration with the parent, its narrow independent franchise, the track record of support to date, common branding and VTBF's relatively small size compared to VTB's balance sheet.

Rating Sensitivities

VTBF's ratings are likely to change in tandem with those of its ultimate parent, Bank VTB. The latter currently has a Negative Outlook, reflecting the planned privatisation of the bank, and Fitch's opinion that this will result in a moderately reduced propensity of state support. A downgrade of VTB's IDRs will result in a similar rating action for VTBF.

VTBF's ratings could also be upgraded or downgraded if VTB sells the bank, depending on the strength of the new owner. However, Fitch views the sale of the bank as unlikely in the near term.

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