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Jan 17 (Reuters) - (The following statement was released by the rating agency)
Fitch Ratings has assigned Propertize B.V.’s (Propertize, the former SNS Property Finance B.V.) EUR4,055m state-guaranteed ECP and MTN programme a Long-term rating of ‘AAA’ and a Short-term rating of ‘F1+'.
The ratings reflect Fitch’s belief that the Dutch state (AAA/Negative/F1+, see “Fitch Affirms The Netherlands at ‘AAA’; Outlook Negative” dated 17 January 2014 at www.fitchratings.com) will meet its financial obligations arising from the guarantee it has extended to the debt securities to be issued under the programme. The guarantee is expressed to be irrevocable and unconditional. The ‘Rules of the Propertize Debt Guarantee Scheme’, a publicly available document, describes the guarantee’s framework and principles.
As part of the nationalisation of SNS REAAL in February 2013, the Dutch authorities envisaged the transfer of SNS Bank’s property finance exposures to an ad-hoc state-owned company. The nationalisation and related transactions, considered state aid, required approval by the European Commission (EC). This was given on 18 December 2013 (see ‘Fitch: No Immediate Rating Impact from EC Approval of SNS Restructuring Plan’ published on 19 December 2013 at www.fitchratings.com). On 30 December, the shares of SNS Property Finance were transferred to the Dutch state, and the ad-hoc company has since been renamed Propertize.
The proceeds of the ECP and MTN programme’s issuance will be used to gradually repay the state-guaranteed funding provided by SNS Bank to Propertize. First issuance under the programme is expected during 1Q13. Under the programme, Propertize cannot issue debt securities with maturities beyond 31 December 2023.
As the programme’s ratings are aligned with those of the Netherlands, any downgrade of the sovereign’s IDRs would be mirrored by similar action on the programme’s ratings.