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Fitch: Expect More Basel III Tier 2 Issues from Thai Banks
June 10, 2014 / 1:01 AM / 3 years ago

Fitch: Expect More Basel III Tier 2 Issues from Thai Banks

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(The following statement was released by the rating agency) BANGKOK/SINGAPORE, June 09 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings says that issuance of Basel III-compliant Tier 2 instruments by Thai banks is likely to increase, driven by the banks' need to replenish their capital, improved regulatory clarity and investor acceptance. While the Bank of Thailand has implemented the Basel III framework since January 2013, issuance of Basel III-compliant instruments was initially limited to relatively small private placements. The proposed issue of Thanachart Bank Public Company Limited's (TBANK; A+(tha)/Negative) Basel III Tier 2 instrument on 19 June will be the first widely-distributed transaction in the domestic market. Fitch's approach to rating Basel III instruments is to notch down from an issuer's anchor rating based on non-performance risk as well as loss severity risk. The Basel III Tier 2 instruments seen in Thailand thus far stipulate that losses would be triggered only at the point of non-viability. As they do not include any going-concern loss absorption, under Fitch's criteria there would be no notching down from the anchor rating for non-performance risk. The non-viability trigger is the injection of public funds to prevent the bank from failing. After non-viability, the subordination of these instruments means there would be reduced recovery prospects relative to senior debt. To reflect this loss severity risk, Fitch's base case would be to rate the instrument by one notch below the anchor rating, and by two notches if very high losses are highly probable (for example in the case of a mandatory full and permanent write-down). The privately-placed USD170m Basel III Tier 2 issue by the United Overseas Bank (Thai) Public Company Limited (UOBT; A-/Stable) on 25 March 2013 included a provision for full and permanent write-down of the instrument at non-viability, which implies an instrument rating two notches below the anchor rating. While the anchor rating would usually be the issuer's Viability Rating, in the case of subsidiary banks such as UOBT, Fitch considers that the parent bank would most likely provide pre-emptive support to prevent non-viability. Hence, the appropriate anchor would be the issuer's IDR. TBANK's planned Basel III Tier 2 issue will incorporate a conversion to common equity at non-viability. That structure would suggest a one-notch differential from its anchor rating, which for TBANK is the entity's stand-alone 'A+(tha)' rating. As at end-2013, there was THB270bn in subordinated debt included as Tier 2 capital at Thai commercial banks, virtually all of which are legacy Basel II instruments. Due to the phasing out of these legacy instruments as well as ongoing redemptions, Fitch estimates that this stock of Tier 2 capital would decline by THB81bn in 2014and by a further THB53bn in 2015. This suggests that Thai banks will need to issue significant amounts of Basel III Tier 2 instruments to replenish their capital. However, comfortable levels of Core Tier 1 equity ratios in the Thai system of around 11.63% as at end-March 2014 suggest limited immediate pressure to issue Basel III Tier 1 instruments for most of the banks. More details on how Fitch assesses risks in bank subordinated and hybrid securities can be found in the report "Assessing and Rating Bank Subordinated and Hybrid Securities Criteria", dated 31 January 2014, at www.fitchratings.com Contacts: Parson Singha, CFA Senior Director +662 108 0151 Fitch Ratings (Thailand) Limited Park Ventures, Level 17 57 Wireless Road, Lumpini Patumwan, Bangkok 10330 Patchara Sarayudh Director +662 108 0152 Media Relations: Leslie Tan, Singapore, Tel: +65 67 96 7234, Email: leslie.tan@fitchratings.com. Additional information is available at www.fitchratings.com. Applicable Criteria and Related Research: Assessing and Rating Bank Subordinated and Hybrid Securities Criteria here ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: here. IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY'S PUBLIC WEBSITE 'WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM'. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE 'CODE OF CONDUCT' SECTION OF THIS SITE. FITCH MAY HAVE PROVIDED ANOTHER PERMISSIBLE SERVICE TO THE RATED ENTITY OR ITS RELATED THIRD PARTIES. DETAILS OF THIS SERVICE FOR RATINGS FOR WHICH THE LEAD ANALYST IS BASED IN AN EU-REGISTERED ENTITY CAN BE FOUND ON THE ENTITY SUMMARY PAGE FOR THIS ISSUER ON THE FITCH WEBSITE.

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