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Rating Action:

MOODY'S ASSIGNS LONG-TERM DEPOSIT RATINGS TO LANDESBANKS' FUTURE NON-GUARANTEED OBLIGATIONS

19 Jul 2005
MOODY'S ASSIGNS LONG-TERM DEPOSIT RATINGS TO LANDESBANKS' FUTURE NON-GUARANTEED OBLIGATIONS

Ratings in line with previous indications -- certain subsidiaries also affected

London, 19 July 2005 -- Moody's Investors Service said that it assigned long-term deposit ratings to the Landesbanks' unsecured, unsubordinated obligations which no longer benefit from the explicit legal support of Anstaltslast and Gewaehrtraegerhaftung. With effect from 19 July 2005, the deposit ratings for the non-guaranteed liabilities of the Landesbanks and Dekabank, as well as their financial strength ratings (FSR), are as follows:

Bayerische Landesbank Aa2/P-1/D+

Bremer Landesbank A1/P-1/C

HSH Nordbank AG A1/P-1/C

Landesbank Baden-Württemberg Aa1/P-1/B-

Landesbank Berlin A1/P-1/D+

Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Aa2 (negative outlook)/P-1/C

Landesbank Rheinland-Pfalz Aa2/P-1/C

Landesbank Saar Aa2/P-1/C-

Landesbank Sachsen A1/P-1/C-

Norddeutsche Landesbank Aa3/P-1/C-

WestLB AG A1/P-1/D-

DekaBank Aa3/P-1/B-

The rating agency said that the ratings for the non --guaranteed obligations were based on Moody's previously established analysis ("Updated analytical rationale for the future non-guaranteed ratings of German Landesbanken", January 2005) and fully in line with previous indications. Accordingly, it expected that any long-term debt the Landesbanks may issue in the future would be rated at the level of the respective Landesbank's deposit rating. Moody's added that the primary analytical drivers were (a) the availability of implicit support from public-sector owners, especially the German states, (b) the importance of cross-sector support mechanisms providing a rating "floor" of A1 for all public-sector banks in Germany and (c) the respective public-sector banks' intrinsic credit strength, as reflected in their financial strength ratings (FSR). Moody's indicated that it expected support from the principal owners of a Landesbank to remain highly likely, albeit within the confines of EU and national laws and regulations, and emphasized how important such support considerations were for the banks' non-guaranteed ratings. Typically, the rating agency added, the banks' strategic positioning, commercial profile and financial performance would not fully underpin such high ratings, and remarked that as measured by their financial strength ratings, most Landesbanks would continue to compare unfavourably to international peers. Looking ahead, Moody's in particular questioned whether the closer co-operation between the Landesbanks and the savings banks would be sufficient to enhance the level and quality of the Landesbanks' revenues and to justify today's cost bases. The rating agency affirmed the Landesbanks' current FSRs and declared that it would not expect FSRs to change solely as a result of the phasing-out of the guarantee mechanisms.

Moody's said that liabilities incurred by the Landesbanks (i) prior to 19 July 2001 or (ii) prior to 19 July 2005 but with a maturity not exceeding 31 December 2015 and which qualify for the grandfathering arrangement agreed upon by the EU Commission and the German authorities, would continue to carry the following current ratings, which were affirmed:

Bayerische Landesbank Aaa

Bremer Landesbank Aa2

HSH Nordbank AG Aa3

Landesbank Baden-Württemberg Aaa

Landesbank Berlin Aa3

Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Aaa negative outlook

Landesbank Rheinland-Pfalz Aa1

Landesbank Saar Aa1

Landesbank Sachsen Aa2

Norddeutsche Landesbank Aa2

WestLB Aa2

DekaBank Aaa

The rating agency remarked that the phasing-out of Anstaltslast and Gewaehrtraegerhaftung should not affect the credit quality and ratings of the grandfathered obligations. However, it pointed out that changes in a guarantor's creditworthiness, i.e. its ability or willingness to honour its commitments, could still trigger rating adjustments in the future.

With respect to the non-guaranteed obligations and, potentially, the grandfathered liabilities, Moody's noted that the respective ratings do not yet take into consideration Moody's Joint Default Analysis (JDA) methodology which has not been rolled out yet for deposit taking institutions. The rating agency said that apart from their ongoing ownership by public-sector investors and the commitment these have demonstrated so far, the banks' prominent role as deposit-takers, notably in the interbank market, and their relative importance for their respective regional economies would probably imply a very high level of support. Furthermore, Moody's added that a Landesbank would typically have multiple support providers whose default probability may be highly but not perfectly positively correlated. Consequently, higher ratings than those announced today could be envisaged for the respective Landesbanks once JDA will have been implemented, Moody's concluded.

Moody's also announced that all 12 public-sector banks and their rated subsidiaries continue to carry Prime-1 (P-1) ratings for their short term non-guaranteed obligations, reflecting the fact that these banks have for some years been strategically pursuing greater funding diversification and liquidity enhancement in preparation for the removal of the guarantee mechanism in July 2005.

Finally, Moody's affirmed the ratings for those obligations of Sachsen LB Europe plc and Norddeutsche Landesbank Luxembourg S.A which by virtue of the respective state laws also qualify for grandfathering, subject to the same conditions as their respective parent banks. Simultaneously, Moody's assigned long-term ratings to the non-guaranteed liabilities of these subsidiaries (at the same level as the long-term ratings for the non-guaranteed debt of their owners), specifically A1 for Sachsen LB Europe plc and Aa3 for Norddeutsche Landesbank Luxembourg S.A., based on the high degree of strategic integration between the parent and the respective subsidiary. These subsidiaries are wholly-owned by and benefit from a Patronatserklärung from their respective parent which for the purposes of the grandfathering agreement is treated as equivalent to the legal support mechanisms that were in place for the public-sector banks. The short-term Prime 1 (P-1) rating of both banks remains unaffected by the changes to the long-term ratings. With respect to the Landesbanks' other rated subsidiaries, Moody's said that where appropriate, ratings adjustments would be made following the assignment of the deposit ratings to their respective parent banks.

Limassol
Adel Satel
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Cyprus Limited
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

London
Guido Versondert
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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