June 9, 2014 / 2:41 PM / 4 years ago

Fitch Downgrades Globexbank, Affirms 4 Other Russian Banks

(The following statement was released by the rating agency) MOSCOW/LONDON, June 09 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings has downgraded Globexbank's (GB) Long-term Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) to 'BB-' from 'BB'. At the same time the agency has affirmed the Long-term IDRs of the following banks that also have indirect state ownership: Sviaz-Bank (SB) at 'BB', Bank Rossiysky Capital (RosCap) at 'B+', Evrofinance Mosnarbank (EMB) at 'B+' and Novikombank (Novikom) at 'B'. The Outlooks on GB and SB are Negative. The Outlooks on RosCap and EMB are Stable, and Positive on Novikom. A full list of rating actions is at the end of this commentary. KEY RATING DRIVERS: SB, GB and RosCap's IDRS, SUPPORT RATINGS, SENIOR DEBT RATINGS, NATIONAL RATINGS SB, GB and RosCap's IDRs reflect their indirect state ownership and therefore the potential for shareholder support in case of need. SB and GB are fully owned by Vnesheconombank (VEB, BBB/Negative), and RosCap is almost wholly owned by the Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA, not rated). However, the IDRs incorporate at best a moderate probability of support, given the banks' limited policy roles and moderate long-term strategic importance for their respective parents. The downgrade of GB reflects Fitch's view of a somewhat lower probability of support from VEB than previously. This factors in a further significant increase in high-risk exposures at GB, mostly in real estate development, which also raises concerns about the bank's corporate governance standards and risk appetite. In Fitch's view, the bank's higher-risk profile and significant loss potential could moderately affect VEB's propensity to provide support in a sufficient amount and/or timely fashion. At the same time, GB's and SB's IDRs continue to be driven by the potential support that the banks could receive, if needed, from VEB. Fitch's view of potential support for the banks takes into account (i) the track record of support to date; (ii) potential reputation risk for VEB and its senior management in case of a default at GB or SB, in particular given VEB's representation on the subsidiaries' boards of directors and involvement in approvals of large exposures; and (iii) limited near-term market opportunities to sell the banks (although Fitch understands that VEB could be ready to consider the sale of GB at least, under the right terms). The Negative Outlooks on SB and GB reflect that on VEB's IDR. The affirmation of RosCap's Long-term IDR and other support-driven ratings reflects the limited probability of external support for the bank, given its 99.99% ownership by the state-controlled DIA. In Fitch's view, the DIA and/or other government bodies may provide liquidity or further moderate capital support to RosCap, if needed, as long as the bank is state-owned. In assessing support, Fitch views positively the recent extension of RosCap's financial recovery plan to at least ten years (subject to approval of the Central Bank of Russia), suggesting a likely longer holding period for the DIA and lower near-term risk of sale to a third party. However, Fitch's view of potential support is constrained by (i) the bank's limited strategic value to its shareholder; and (ii) insufficient capital support to date. RosCap's Fitch core capital (FCC) ratio was a low 3.4% at end-2013, and the positive impact of a RUB6.6bn equity injection (equal to 7.2pps of risk weighted assets), made by the DIA in May 2014, is likely to be more than offset by the planned merger with Ellips Bank (RUB9bn of negative net assets at end-1Q14), a small regional bank also bailed out by the DIA. Although an additional RUB7bn of "new-style" Tier-2 subordinated debt (with a loss-absorption clause) was provided to Ellips by DIA, core capital will remain very limited. RATING SENSITIVITIES: IDRS, SENIOR DEBT RATINGS, NATIONAL RATINGS, SUPPORT RATINGS of SB, GB, RosCap SB and GB could be downgraded if (i) the Russian Federation (BBB/Negative), and hence VEB, are downgraded; (ii) timely support for either bank is not forthcoming in case of need; or (iii) in Fitch's view, a sale of either bank becomes significantly more likely than currently perceived. An upgrade of either bank is currently viewed as unlikely. However, the ratings could stabilise at their current levels if the Outlooks on Russia and VEB were revised to Stable. GB's ratings could be upgraded back to the level of SB if the bank de-risks its balance sheet and improves its corporate governance, and Fitch views these changes as sustainable. The rating differential between VEB and SB/GB could also narrow if the banks gain significant policy roles and VEB affirms their importance for the long-term implementation of its development mandate. RosCap's IDR could be upgraded by one notch if the DIA demonstrates its commitment to support the bank with sufficient recapitalisation, which would sustain the bank's solvency at a reasonable level. KEY RATING DRIVERS: ALL BANKS' VIABILITY RATINGS (VR) The banks' VRs benefit from help with business origination and relative stability of funding, which the banks derive as a result of their indirect state ownership. However, the VRs (with the exception of EMB) also reflect weaknesses in corporate governance, significant risk of further asset impairment and tight capital - the latter the result of recent rapid growth and modest pre-impairment profitability. KEY RATING DRIVERS AND SENSITIVITIES: SB's AND GB's VRs The VRs of SB (b) and GB (b-) are constrained by the banks' tight capitalisation (in particular at SB), modest profitability, high concentrations on both sides of the balance sheet and asset quality concerns (particular at GB). However, the VRs are supported by the banks' so far comfortable liquidity. GB's lower VR is driven by the large volume of higher-risk non-core assets, and corporate governance concerns related to the origination of these exposures. Capitalisation is weak at both banks with FCC ratios standing at 7.8% (SB) and 8.0% (GB) at end-2013. Regulatory total capital ratios are supported by subordinated debt from VEB, but were still a modest 11.7% (SB) and 11.5% (GB) at end-1Q14. Capital weakness is aggravated by under-provisioning of existing problem loans at SB, large construction and real estate exposures at GB and weak internal capital generation at both banks. VEB's near-term recapitalisation plans for both banks include conversion of RUB10bn subordinated debt to equity for SB and a new RUB5bn subordinated loan for GB. GB's total commercial real estate exposure was around RUB83bn at end-2013, or 3.2x FCC, Fitch estimates. This includes RUB45bn of loan exposures comprising less risky infrastructure construction projects and financing of completed properties with low loan-to-value ratios. Higher risk exposures include real estate mutual funds and properties of development company RGI (consolidated in GB's IFRS accounts) that jointly amounted to a significant 1.5x FCC, exposing the bank to considerable market risk. SB's non-performing loans (NPL; 90+ days overdue) ratio stood at 8.1% at end-2013, mainly driven by a default on the bank's largest exposure (specific reserve 14% due to management's recovery expectations). GB's NPL ratio was a moderate 2.8%, but this does not take into account the bank's other high risk assets. Both SB and GB have short-term lumpy funding dominated by state-owned companies and VEB, and - in the case of GB - significant wholesale market borrowings. However, liquidity positions are reasonable, in part due to available lines from VEB. SB's and GB's VRs could be downgraded further if asset quality problems and non-core assets continue to accumulate and capitalisation remains tight. Reductions in high-risk exposures, improved asset quality and profitability coupled with stronger capital cushions could result in upgrades. KEY RATING DRIVERS AND SENSITIVITIES: ROSCAP'S VR RosCap's 'b-' VR reflects the bank's weak capital position, high exposure to the development and real estate sector (equal to an estimated 2.3x current FCC), its recent rapid growth in both corporate and retail lending, and its funding of generally longer-term assets with short-term deposits. However, the rating also considers the bank's limited wholesale debt, currently adequate liquidity and the potential for improving scale to gradually support internal capital generation. The Rating Watch Negative (RWN) on RosCap's VR reflects risks resulting from the anticipated merger with Ellips Bank, which will likely result in RosCap's FCC ratio returning to a low level. However, regulatory capitalisation will be supported by gradual creation of statutory reserves against Elips' problems assets, as well as the new tier 2 instrument. The RWN could be resolved with a downgrade if the merger with Ellips leads to significant deterioration of RosCap's capitalisation. Conversely, if the merger is abandoned, or if capitalisation is supported sufficiently by further injections by the DIA, the VR could be affirmed. KEY RATING DRIVERS - EMB The affirmation of EMB's Long-term IDR, and its removal from Rating Watch Positive (RWP), reflects continued delays with ratification of an intergovernmental agreement, signed by Russia and Venezuela (B/Negative) in 2011, which would transform the bank into an international financial institution (IFI), equally owned by the two governments. The eventual transformation of the bank could result in an upgrade to the 'BB' category. EMB's ratings are driven by the bank's standalone profile, as reflected in its 'b+' VR. The VR considers the bank's limited and concentrated franchise, moderate profitability and volatile funding base. However, the rating also factors in the bank's currently solid capitalisation, ample liquidity and sound asset quality. EMB's credit risks stem primarily from the securities book (46% of assets at end-1Q14), loan book (12%) and off-balance sheet exposures (equal to 20% of assets). These are of mostly reasonable quality, and Venezuelan exposures are manageable relative to the bank's capital. NPLs and restructured loans were a low 2.3% and 1.7% of gross loans, respectively, at end-1Q14 while the bank's regulatory capital ratio of 29.5% provided a buffer against market and credit risks. EMB's balance sheet has been volatile due to lumpy short-term placements by a limited number of Venezuelan customers, reflective of EMB's focus on trade finance and settlement operations. However, these are prudently covered with liquid assets. EMB is currently owned by Gazprombank (BBB-/Negative; 25% plus one share), VTB Bank (not rated; 25% plus one share) and the National Development Fund of Venezuela (50% minus two shares). EMB's Support Rating of '5' and Support Rating Floor of 'No Floor' reflect Fitch's view that support from the bank's shareholders and/or the Russian/Venezuelan authorities, while possible, cannot be relied upon. RATING SENSITIVITIES - EMB The change in EMB's status to an IFI with 50% direct Russian state ownership would likely lead to an upgrade of its IDRs. However, the level of the ratings would depend on the ratings of Russia and Venezuela, Fitch's assessment of the importance of the bank's policy role and the extent of the shareholders' capital commitments to the bank. Upside potential for EMB's VR is currently limited given the bank's narrow franchise and weak performance. A significant increase in leverage and/or asset quality deterioration could result in downward pressure on the VR. KEY RATING DRIVERS - NOVIKOM The affirmation of Novikom's ratings reflects the bank's narrow franchise, resulting in high concentrations on both sides of the balance sheet, and weak capitalisation in light of the bank's growth plans. Positively, the ratings also reflect the currently reasonable reported asset quality and adequate liquidity, supported by funding from state-owned companies. The Positive Outlook continues to reflect the potential benefits of higher cooperation with Russian state-owned corporation Rostechnologii (Rostec, not rated), especially in light of the latter having increased its stake in the bank to 49% from 17.6% in 2Q14. Rostec, a holding company consolidating stakes in mainly technology and defence sector companies, plans to ultimately consolidate a majority stake in Novikom, possibly by end-2014. At present, Fitch does not factor support from Rostec into Novikom's ratings due to the minority shareholding, the limited strategic importance of the bank for Rostec, and limited visibility on Rostec's credit profile and its plans for Novikom. Novikom's reported loan quality is reasonable with NPLs and restructured loans each comprising less than 1% of loans. However, the loan book is highly concentrated, with the 25 largest groups of borrowers making up 66% of end-2013 loans, equal to 6.8x FCC. Fitch considers the bank's exposures to state-owned borrowers from the technology and defence industry (32% of end-2013 loans) as relatively low risk due to the sector's strategic importance and the potential of state support. However, loans extended to private companies (68% of the portfolio) are of somewhat higher risk, in particular given their long tenors and the generally weak financials of the borrowers. The bank's FCC ratio was a low 6.45% at end-2013, but Fitch estimates that this will have increased by about 3ppts as a result of the conversion of subordinated debt into equity in May 2014. At end-5M14, the total regulatory capital ratio was 12.5%, allowing the bank to additionally reserve 5% of gross loans before the ratio would have fallen to the 10% minimum level; pre-impairment profitability (equal to 3.6% of average loans in 2013) provides a moderate additional buffer. The liquidity cushion is moderate compared with the bank's significant near-term wholesale repayments, but the liquidity profile is supported by the bank's stable funding from predominantly state-owned companies. RATING SENSITIVITIES - NOVIKOM The bank's Long-term IDRs could be upgraded if Rostec acquires a majority stake in Novikom and demonstrates a strong commitment to support the bank's development, and Fitch is able to reliably assess the shareholder's ability to provide support. The ratings could also be upgraded if the bank's standalone metrics improve. The ratings could be affirmed and the Outlook revised back to Stable if Rostec does not acquire a controlling stake or there is no visible increase in cooperation between the bank and Rostec. The ratings could be downgraded in case of a marked deterioration in asset quality or capital erosion, or if the bank's funding base suffers as a result of lesser cooperation with Rostec. The rating actions are as follows: SB Long-term foreign and local currency IDRs: affirmed at 'BB'; Negative Outlook Short-term foreign currency IDR: affirmed at 'B' Viability Rating: affirmed at 'b' Support Rating: affirmed at '3' National Long-term rating: affirmed at 'AA-(rus)'; Stable Outlook Senior unsecured debt: affirmed at 'BB' Senior unsecured debt National rating: affirmed at 'AA-(rus)' GB Long-term foreign and local currency IDRs: downgraded to 'BB-' from 'BB'; Negative Outlook Short-term foreign currency IDR: affirmed at 'B' Support Rating: affirmed at '3' Viability Rating: affirmed at 'b-' National Long-term rating: downgraded to 'A+(rus)' from 'AA-(rus)'; Stable Outlook Senior unsecured debt: downgraded to 'BB-' from 'BB' Senior unsecured debt National rating: downgraded to 'A+(rus)' from 'AA-(rus)' RosCap Long-term foreign currency IDR: affirmed at 'B+'; Stable Outlook Long-term local currency IDR: assigned at 'B+'; Stable Outlook Short-term IDR: affirmed at 'B' National Long-term Rating: affirmed at 'A-(rus)'; Stable Outlook VR: 'b-'; placed on RWN Support Rating: affirmed at '4' Support Rating Floor: affirmed at 'B+' Senior unsecured debt: affirmed at 'B+'/'A-(rus)'; Recovery Rating 'RR4' EMB Long-term foreign and local currency IDRs: affirmed at 'B+', removed from RWP, Stable Outlook Short-term foreign currency IDR: affirmed at 'B' National Long-Term Rating: affirmed at 'A-(rus)', removed from RWP, Stable Outlook Viability Rating: affirmed at 'b+' Support Rating: affirmed at '5', removed from RWP Support Rating Floor: affirmed at 'No Floor', removed from RWP Senior unsecured debt: affirmed at 'B+(EXP)', removed from RWP; Recovery Rating 'RR4(EXP)'; affirmed at 'A-(rus)(EXP)', removed from RWP Novikom Long-term foreign and local currency IDRs affirmed at 'B'; Outlook Positive Short-term foreign-currency IDR affirmed at 'B' National Long-term Rating affirmed at 'BBB(rus)'; Outlook Positive Viability Rating affirmed at 'b' Support Rating affirmed at '5' Support Rating Floor affirmed at 'No Floor' Senior debt assigned at 'B'/'BBB(rus)'/'RR4' Contacts Primary Analyst (SB, GB) Olga Ignatieva Senior Director +7 495 956 6906 Fitch Ratings CIS Ltd 26 Valovaya Street, Moscow 115054 Primary Analyst (RosCap) Dmitri Vasiliev Director +7 (495) 956 5576 Fitch Ratings CIS Ltd Valovaya Street, 26 Moscow 115054 Primary Analyst (EMB) Aslan Tavitov Associate Director +7 (495) 956 7065 Fitch Ratings CIS Ltd Valovaya Street, 26 Moscow 115054 Primary Analyst (Novikom) Sergey Popov Associate Director +7 495 956 9981 Fitch Ratings CIS Ltd 26 Valovaya Street Moscow 115054 Secondary Analyst(SB, GB) Aslan Tavitov Associate Director +7 495 956 7065 Secondary Analyst (RosCap) Ruslan Bulatov Analyst +7 495 956 9982 Secondary Analyst (EMB) Maria Kuraeva Analyst +7 495 956 5575 Secondary Analyst (Novikom) Anna Erachina Analyst +7 495 956 7063 Committee Chairperson James Watson Managing Director +7 495 956 6657 Media Relations: Julia Belskaya von Tell, Moscow, Tel: +7 495 956 9908, Email: julia.belskayavontell@fitchratings.com; Hannah Huntly, London, Tel: +44 20 3530 1153, Email: hannah.huntly@fitchratings.com. Additional information is available at www.fitchratings.com. Applicable criteria, 'Global Financial Institutions Rating Criteria' dated 31 January 2014 are available at www.fitchratings.com. Applicable Criteria and Related Research: Global Financial Institutions Rating Criteria here Additional Disclosure Solicitation Status 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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