RPT-Fitch Assigns Final Ratings to Nqaba Finance 1's New Notes

Thu May 23, 2013 5:26am EDT

May 23 (Reuters) - (The following statement was released by the rating agency)

Fitch Ratings has assigned Nqaba Finance 1 (RF) Limited's (Nqaba Finance 1) additional floating-rate notes (FRN) National Long-term ratings, as follows:

ZAR200m class A16 FRN: 'AAA(zaf)'; Outlook Stable

ZAR302m class A17 FRN: 'AAA(zaf)'; Outlook Stable

ZAR40m class B15 FRN: 'AA(zaf)'; Outlook Stable

ZAR25m class C15 FRN: 'A+(zaf)'; Outlook Stable

ZAR30m class D7 FRN: 'A-(zaf)'; Outlook Stable

The new notes have been issued to refinance the existing class A9, A14, B9, B13 C9, C13 and D4 notes, all with a scheduled maturity of 22 May 2013. All other existing notes will remain after the refinance date of 22 May 2013.

As discussed in the agency's comment dated 09 May 2013, 'Fitch Assigns Nqaba Finance 1 Expected National Ratings; Affirms Existing Notes', listed below are the recently affirmed notes that were previously issued by Nqaba Finance 1 and that remain outstanding after the refinancing.

ZAR127m class A9 FRN, 'AAA(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR115m class A10 fixed-rate notes, 'AAA(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR205m class A11 FRN, affirmed at 'AAA(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR318m class A12 FRN, affirmed at 'AAA(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR375m class A14 FRN, affirmed at 'AAA(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR303m class A15 FRN, affirmed at 'AAA(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR30m class B9 FRN, affirmed at 'AA(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR11m class B10 FRN, affirmed at 'AA(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR32m class B11 FRN, affirmed at 'AA(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR10m class B13 FRN, affirmed at 'AA(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR8m class B14 FRN, affirmed at 'AA(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR12m class C9 FRN, affirmed at 'A+(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR5m class C10 FRN, affirmed at 'A+(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR32m class C11 FRN, affirmed at 'A+(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR13m class C13 FRN, affirmed at 'A+(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR5m class C14 FRN, affirmed at 'A+(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR30m class D4 FRN, affirmed at 'A-(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR5m class D5 FRN, affirmed at 'A-(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

ZAR24m class D6 FRN, affirmed at 'A-(zaf)'/Outlook Stable

Credit enhancement is provided by overcollateralisation and totals 26.00% for the class A notes, 21.33% for the class B notes, 17.90% for the class C notes and 14.87% for the class D notes. In addition, the transaction features significant overcollateralisation of interest, resulting from the junior position of the interest payable under the subordinated loan in the priority of payments.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

Asset Performance:

The historical performance of the assets is strong relative to the rest of the South African mortgage market, with rates of delinquency of 90 days of 0.7% as of February 2013. This is due to the borrowers' stable employment background and the collection of mortgage payments through payroll deduction.

Revolving:

The transaction is 'evergreen' revolving, since the purchase of new loans is allowed until the breach of certain performance triggers. It is also subject to certain covenants on the portfolio features. In addition, many borrowers also have the ability to draw their loans further.

Eskom Dependency:

The transaction's performance is strongly dependent on that of Eskom as (i) the large majority of borrowers are employed by Eskom and pay the instalments by salary deduction; (ii) Eskom provides support to borrowers in the form of subsidies; and (iii) as there is some operational dependency on Eskom or its subsidiary EFC. Fitch therefore maintains a limited differential between the rating of the notes and that of Eskom.

Overcollateralisation of Interest:

The interest due on the subordinated loan, which funds part of the mortgage portfolio purchase price, is paid junior to the principal note allocations. This provides significant overcollateralisation of interest and supports the senior notes.

Planned Sale of EFC:

Eskom would be committed to maintaining payroll deductions and subsidy payments to the borrowers despite the sale of EFC, as requested by the South African government. However, the termination of the back-up servicing agreement with ABSA, which will result from the sale of EFC, will further increase the transaction's reliance on EFC to perform as a servicer.

RATING SENSITIVITIES

Material increases in the frequency of defaults and loss severity on defaulted receivables could produce loss levels higher than Fitch's base case expectations, which in turn may result in potential rating actions on the notes. The agency stressed its 'AAA' assumptions by 30% for both weighted average foreclosure frequency and recovery rate. The stresses did not result in a downgrade of the class A notes.

The percentage below which the proportion of loans serviced by payroll deduction may not fall as a result of a purchase of new loans will be decreased to 92% from 93% as of the date of the new notes issuance. However, this has no impact on Fitch's existing analysis, as the agency already assumes a higher proportion of borrowers leaving their employment with Eskom.

More detailed model implied ratings sensitivity can be found in the new issue report, which will shortly be available at www.fitchratings.com.

For its ratings analysis, Fitch received a data template with most fields fully completed. To analyse the CE levels, Fitch evaluated the collateral using its default model, details of which can be found in the reports entitled 'EMEA RMBS Master Rating Criteria', dated 7 June 2012 and 'EMEA Criteria Addendum - South Africa' dated 21 February 2013', at www.fitchratings.com. The agency assessed the transaction cash flows using default and loss severity assumptions under various structural stresses including prepayment speeds and interest rate scenarios. The cash flow tests showed that each class of notes could withstand loan losses at a level corresponding to the related stress scenario without incurring any principal loss or interest shortfall and can retire principal by the legal final maturity.

Link to Fitch Ratings' Report: Nqaba Finance 1 (RF) Limited

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