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Rating Action:

MOODY'S ASSIGNS Aa3 / PRIME-1 / C+ RATINGS TO ANZ NATIONAL BANK LTD

28 Jun 2004
MOODY'S ASSIGNS Aa3 / PRIME-1 / C+ RATINGS TO ANZ NATIONAL BANK LTD

Sydney, June 28, 2004 -- Moody's assigned ratings to ANZ National Bank Limited of Aa3 for Long-Term Deposits and Senior Debt, Prime-1 for Short-Term Deposits and Debt, A1 for Subordinated Debt, and C+ for Bank Financial Strength. The Ratings Outlook is Stable.

ANZ National Bank Limited (ANZNBL) is a subsidiary of the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), and was formed on 26 June 2004, following the amalgamation of the ANZ Banking Group (New Zealand) Limited and National Bank of New Zealand (NBNZ). The ratings of ANZNBL are identical to those of the two legacy banks.

ANZNBL is now the largest bank in New Zealand and enjoys a broad franchise in all major segments of the market. The amalgamation of the two legacy banks has significantly consolidated New Zealand banking market -- reducing the number of major players to four from five -- which has the potential to reduce some competitive pressures over time. Furthermore, Moody's views the New Zealand banking market as offering relative stability and attractive risk-adjusted returns, despite its small size and concentrated nature.

Although the scale of such a merger presents significant challenges -- and some customer attrition can be expected as overlapping exposures are eliminated and competitors seek to gain market share during the integration phase -- the rating agency believes that a number of qualities will continue to underpin ANZNBL's franchise.

Both ANZ and NBNZ have successful merger and acquisition experience upon which to draw. The ANZ and NBNZ brands are to be maintained separately and the branch networks will remain largely untouched. This should cause minimal disruption to the bank's retail client base, and already appears to be containing the risk of staff attrition. Moreover, ANZNBL is adopting a relatively autonomous management style that has performed well for NBNZ in the past, and which should somewhat allay nationalist concerns over increasing Australian ownership of the New Zealand banking market.

New Zealand's regulator requires that ANZNBL maintain full stand-alone operating capability on-shore for its domestic systems. This will restrict some of the potential cost synergy benefits of the business combination -- but these requirements are not viewed as being sufficiently onerous to be of consequence to the ratings of ANZNBL.

The Aa3 debt and deposit ratings of ANZNBL reflect a degree of credit enhancement from ANZ, and are higher than the bank's stand-alone bank financial strength rating of C+ would suggest. This reflects Moody's view that New Zealand is a core market for ANZ, and that ANZ would be highly incented to support its subsidiary if required.

The deposit and bank financial strength ratings of ANZ Banking Group (New Zealand) Limited and National Bank of New Zealand were withdrawn.

ANZ National Bank Limited is headquartered in Wellington, New Zealand. It reported assets of NZ$77.2billion (approximately US$ 48.3 billion) at 31 March 2004.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. It reported assets of A$195.5 billion (approximately US$107 billion) at financial yearend 2003.

Singapore
Patrick Winsbury
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Singapore Pte Ltd.
Telephone: 65-6398-8300
Facsimile: 65-6398-8301

Singapore
Deborah Schuler
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Singapore Pte Ltd.
Telephone: 65-6398-8300
Facsimile: 65-6398-8301

No Related Data.
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