Moscow, May 19, 2009 — Moody’s Investors Service placed the following global scale ratings of Ak Bars Bank (ABB) on review for possible downgrade: Ba2 long-term local and foreign currency deposit ratings, Ba2 foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating and D- bank financial strength rating (BFSR). At the same time, Moody’s Interfax Rating Agency placed the bank’s Aa2.ru long-term National Scale Rating (NSR) on review for possible downgrade. Moscow-based Moody’s Interfax is majority owned by Moody’s. The review is triggered by the possible losses that ABB is likely to report under IFRS for full-year 2008. Moody’s estimates that net losses could amount to around one-quarter of the bank’s 2007 Tier 1 capital, driven by high new loan loss provisioning expenses and losses from securities trading and revaluation. ABB’s asset quality is rapidly deteriorating, in line with peers. Moody’s believes that ABB’s creditworthiness is likely to deteriorate as a result of these negative developments, and the weaker economic environment in Russia. Moody’s review of ABB’s BFSR for possible downgrade will focus on the bank’s capital adequacy, asset quality and liquidity. It will also assess the impact of ABB’s ongoing RUB9 billion increase in Tier 1 capital on the bank’s financial fundamentals. In Moody’s view, the bank’s liquidity has not been conservatively managed, as evidenced by negative liquidity gaps in most time buckets and the high concentration of the customer funding base (the top 20 deposits accounted for 47% of total customer funds at 1 March 2009). In case ABB fails to improve its asset quality, materially strengthen its capital base and improve its liquidity profile, this would warrant a rating downgrade — the extent of which could be multi-notch depending on the severity of the impairment in financial fundamentals. Conversely, the review could conclude in a rating confirmation if the bank evidences a material strengthening of its capital position and asset quality. Moody’s stresses that ABB’s financial results outlined above are preliminary and final numbers could differ materially in both directions; given this uncertainty, the review will be concluded based on final IFRS numbers for fullyear 2008.
ABB’s debt and deposit ratings incorporate the rating agency’s assessment of a high probability of parental support from the government of the Republic of Tatarstan (Ba1/Stable), resulting in a one-notch uplift from the bank’s Baseline Credit Assessment of Ba3. ABB’s supported debt and deposit ratings were placed on review for possible downgrade because they are not resilient in the event of a multi-notch downgrade of the bank’s BFSR and/or a change in Moody’s support assumptions for ABB.
The previous rating action on ABB was on 4 May 2007 when Moody’s upgraded ABB’s BFSR to D- from E+, and its foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating to Ba2/NP from Ba3/NP. The rating action was driven by the improvements in the bank’s financial fundamentals.
The principal methodologies used in rating ABB are «Bank Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology» and «Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody’s Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology», which can be found at www.moodys.com in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory, in the Ratings Methodologies subdirectory. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating this issuer can also be found in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory.
Headquartered in the City of Kazan in Tatarstan, Russian Federation, ABB ranks among the 20 largest Russian banks. ABB’s assets stood at US$6.9 billion and capital at US$620 million at end-2008 (preliminary IFRS figure). The bank was founded in 1993 by the government of Tatarstan, which ultimately controls 96% of ABB. The government does not own this majority stake directly, but controls the bank through its various companies and ministries. The bank has a dominant position in Tatarstan, largely due to the support from the national government.