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Rating Action:

MOODY'S AFFIRMS RATINGS OF NOMURA SECURITIES CO., LTD. (SENIOR DEBT AT Baa2, SHORT TERM DEBT AT PRIME-2).

28 Jun 1999
MOODY'S AFFIRMS RATINGS OF NOMURA SECURITIES CO., LTD. (SENIOR DEBT AT Baa2, SHORT TERM DEBT AT PRIME-2). Moody's Investors Service has affirmed the Baa2 and Prime-2 ratings of Nomura Securities Co., Ltd. The rating outlook is stable. These actions conclude the review for possible downgrade announced on March 24, 1999 when Moody's lowered the long-term ratings of Nomura to Baa2 from Baa1.


Moody's said that the ratings confirmation reflects both the progress achieved by Nomura to date in its strategic reorganization and its commitment to pursue aggressively these initiatives both overseas and in Japan. The rationalization of Nomura's overseas businesses and infrastructure will ultimately produce an improved operating risk profile, a lower -- albeit still high -- expense base, and diminished risk of funding pressures, said Moody's.


However, Moody's said that although Nomura's earnings prospects have improved, they will remain highly dependent on future market conditions and the pace of changes in Japan's financial markets. Furthermore, Nomura's historic leadership role in the Japanese markets is increasingly challenged by successful foreign investment banks and domestic securities firms whose competitive strengths and credibility have received a boost from their major affiliated companies.


The steps taken by Nomura in restructuring its overseas operations involved the cessation of its mortgage financing business in the US, the discontinuation of most proprietary and emerging markets trading activities, and the decision to liquidate the related inventory positions in an orderly fashion. The unwinding of some positions will require some time, according to Moody's, and could result in further losses notably in adverse market conditions.


Nomura is also actively reducing its overhead expenses overseas, on or ahead of schedule, by closing down or reducing the size of several offices, and by staff reductions. As a result, said the rating agency, the earnings stability and prospects for Nomura's overseas businesses have improved. Nevertheless, the aggregate overseas profit contribution, both in Europe and in the United States, is likely to be lackluster over the next several years with most continuing businesses generating relatively low contributions while the expense base remains high.


The recent positive changes in Nomura's domestic operations include the acceleration of a strategic shift to managing client assets and the introduction of several new products and services in the retail sector, as well as the streamlining of trading and investment banking activities along global business lines in the wholesale sector. These changes, said Moody's, enhance Nomura's competitive position in Japan.


Nomura already benefits from the largest retail network and the most extensive pool of client relationships with corporations, financial institutions, and municipal agencies. Nomura should accordingly be well-positioned to benefit from the ongoing reallocation of Japan's massive household assets, disintermediation in the banking sector, growing acceptance of structured products, and accelerating corporate restructurings.


The substantial reduction in Nomura's balance sheet size and inventory positions commensurate with the restructuring process also improved the firm's financial fundamentals and liquidity. Moody's said that Nomura's 1.3 trillion yen equity base, which is further supported by 460 billion yen in fresh subordinated loans and long-term debt provide adequate capital support for the firm's current operations. Moreover, said Moody's, the massive 348 billion yen financial support reserved at fiscal year-end March 31, 1999 for Nomura Finance -- an affiliate engaged in real estate financing -- materially reduces the risk of unexpected future demand for financial support for this affiliated entity.




Nomura's liquid balance sheet, reduced risk profile, and improving -- albeit still tenuous -- earnings prospects, as well as its significance to Japan's financial sector, underpin its stable ratings outlook, said Moody's.


The following ratings were confirmed:


Nomura Securities Co., Ltd -- Baa2 senior long-term debt; Prime-2 short-term debt

Nomura Bank International Plc -- Baa3 senior long-term debt; Prime-2 short-term debt

Nomura Europe Finance NV -- Baa2 senior long-term debt; Prime-2 short-term debt

Nomura Global Funding plc -- Baa2 senior long-term debt; Prime-2 short-term debt

Nomura Holding America, Inc -- Prime-2 short-term debt

Nomura International plc -- Prime-2 short-term debt


Nomura Securities Co., Ltd., with headquarters in Tokyo, is the largest Japanese securities firm with total assets and equity of 14.5 trillion yen and 1.3 trillion yen, respectively, reported at fiscal year-end March 31, 1999.
No Related Data.
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