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11 Dec 2002
Most subsidiaries' long-term ratings also downgraded; EssenHyp on review for downgrade
London, 11 December 2002 -- Moody's Investors Service today downgraded the long-term deposit
and debt ratings and the financial strength rating (FSR) of Commerzbank
AG from A1/B- to A2/C, respectively. The outlook for
long and short-term debt and deposit ratings and for the financial
strength rating is stable. At the same time, Moody's has
also downgraded the long-term ratings and FSRs of some of the group's
Moreover, with the exception of Hypothekenbank in Essen (EssenHyp),
the rating agency has also confirmed the Prime-1 ratings of all
of the group's rated entities for short-term deposits and commercial
paper, and changed to stable from negative the outlook on the long-
and short-term debt and deposit ratings. Moody's has also
placed EssenHyp's long- and short-term debt and deposit
ratings (A2/P-1) and its mortgage and public sector Pfandbrief
ratings (Aa2 and Aa1 respectively) on review for possible downgrade.
Moody's explains that the rating change reflects Commerzbank group's low
recurring earning power resulting from a weakened franchise, mainly
in investment banking and asset management, as well as its lower
economic capitalisation caused mainly by the depletion of its reserves.
Moody's adds that the new ratings and their stable outlook continue to
reflect Commerzbank group's position as one of Germany's major financial
institutions, with a stable franchise in retail and commercial banking.
The new ratings and their stable outlook are also underpinned by Commerzbanks
clearer strategy to improve profitability. While the management
team is succeeding in cutting costs and reducing the bank's asset concentration
risk (which reduces materially the potential for future negative surprises),
boosting revenues should remain an uphill challenge.
The long-term debt and deposit ratings of most subsidiaries were
also downgraded, reflecting their close integration into the group.
Although the current ratings for EssenHyp are underpinned by the Patronatserklaerung
(letter of comfort) from Commerzbank itself, Moody's placed the
A2/P-1 long- and short-term debt and deposit ratings
and the Aa2/Aa1 mortgage and public sector Pfandbrief ratings on review
for possible downgrade, taking into account the relatively greater
autonomy of Essenhyp. Moody's rating review will focus on the extent
to which the intrinsic creditworthiness of Essenhyp, combined with
ongoing support from Commerzbank, can underpin the existing ratings.
The following ratings were downgraded:
Commerzbank AG: senior unsecured debt and deposits to A2; long-term
issuer rating to A2; subordinated debt to A3; Tier III debt
to Baa1; financial strength to C.
Commerzbank International S.A. (Luxembourg): senior
unsecured debt and deposits to A3; subordinated debt to Baa1.
Commerzbank Europe (Ireland): senior unsecured long-term
deposits to A2; long-term issuer rating to A2.
CB Finance Company B.V.: senior unsecured debt to
A2; subordinated debt to A3.
Commerzbank Overseas Finance N.V.: senior unsecured
debt to A2; subordinated debt to A3.
Commerzbank U.S. Finance Inc.: senior unsecured
debt to A2.
Commerzbank AG, Paris Branch: senior unsecured deposits to
Commerzbank AG, London Branch: senior unsecured debt to A2.
Commerzbank AG, Hong Kong branch: senior unsecured debt to
The following ratings were placed on review for possible downgrade:
Hypothekenbank in Essen AG: public sector Pfandbrief rating of Aa1;
mortgage Pfandbrief rating of Aa2; senior unsecured debt and deposit
rating of A2; subordinated debt rating of A3; short-term
debt and deposits of P-1.
The following ratings were confirmed:
Commerzbank AG: short-term debt and deposits at P-1.
Commerzbank International S.A.(Luxembourg): short-term
debt and deposits at P-1; financial strength at C.
Commerzbank Europe (Ireland): short-term deposits at P-1;
financial strength at C-.
CB Finance Company B.V.: short-term debt at
Commerzbank Overseas Finance N.V.: short-term
debt at P-1.
Commerzbank U.S. Finance Inc.: short-term
debt at P-1.
Commerzbank AG, Paris Branch: short-term deposits at
Commerzbank AG, London Branch: commercial paper at P-1.
Commerzbank Europe Finance (Ireland) plc: commercial paper at P-1.
Commerz Europe (Ireland), Inc.: commercial paper at
Hypothekenbank in Essen AG: financial strength at C.
Commerzbank AG, headquartered in Frankfurt, is Germany's fourth
largest banking group with consolidated total assets of EUR424 billion
at 30 September 2002, following the spin-off of Rheinische
Hypothekenbank. Hypothekenbank in Essen is a mortgage bank specialising
primarily in public sector lending. The bank is headquartered in
Essen and had total assets of EUR70 billion at 30 September 2002.
Samuel S. Theodore
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
44 20 7772 5454
MOODY'S DOWNGRADES TO A2/C COMMERZBANK'S LONG-TERM AND FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATING, STABLE OUTLOOK; P-1 SHORT TERM DEBT AND DEPOSIT RATING CONFIRMED WITH A STABLE OUTLOOK.
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
44 20 7772 5454
No Related Data.
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