(The following statement was released by the rating agency)
June 26 - Fitch Ratings has affirmed Tunisia-based Attijari
Leasing's National Long-term rating at 'BB+(tun)' with Stable Outlook, and
Short-term rating at 'B(tun)'. A full list of rating actions is at the end of
Attijari Leasing's National Long- and Short-term ratings are underpinned by the
limited probability of support it is likely to receive from its ultimate
shareholder, the Moroccan group Attijariwafa Bank (AWB, 'BB+'/Stable/'B'/'bb-'/'3'), if
Attijari Leasings' capital is 65.2% held by AWB's Tunisian subsidiary, Attijari
Bank Tunisie (ABT), which in turn is 54.6%-controlled by the holding company
Andalucarthage, which is almost exclusively owned by AWB. Fitch believes there
is a high propensity of support from ABT and, ultimately, AWB, for Attijari
Leasing, if needed. However, the probability of such support is only limited
given AWB's restricted creditworthiness (as indicated by AWB's 'bb-' Viability
Rating). ABT is not rated by Fitch.
An upgrade of Attijari Leasing's National Ratings could be triggered by a
significant increase of AWB's control in the company and closer integration with
AWB. Conversely, a downgrade of Attijari Leasing's national ratings could result
if AWB materially reduces its interests in ABT (and subsequently in Attijari
Leasing) or following a significant downgrade of AWB's ratings, all of which
Fitch considers unlikely in the foreseeable future.
AWB's Long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) is based on the
potential support expected from the Moroccan authorities if needed, given the
bank's strong franchise in the country. Fitch does not expect that the Moroccan
government's support to AWB will extend to cross border subsidiaries such as
Attijari Leasing, given the latter's limited strategic importance to AWB and
poor integration within the Moroccan bank. Attijari Leasing's assets and equity
are 0.5% of each of AWB's total assets and equity. Therefore, Fitch has based
its assessment of AWB's capacity to support Attijari Leasings on AWB's Viability
Rating rather than its support-driven IDR.
The rating actions are as follows:
Long-term National Rating: affirmed at 'BB+(tun)'; Outlook Stable
Short-term National Rating: affirmed at 'B(tun)'
National Senior Debt rating: affirmed at 'BB+(tun)'
National Subordinated Debt rating: affirmed at 'B+(tun)'