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Rating Action:

MOODY'S DOWNGRADES TO Aa2 THE LONG-TERM RATINGS OF DEXIA BANK BELGIUM AND OF DEXIA CREDIT LOCAL (FRANCE); UPGRADES TO Aa2/B+ RATINGS OF ARTESIA BANKING CORPORATION; CONFIRMS DEXIA BIL'S LONG-TERM RATINGS AT Aa2; DOWNGRADES TO Aa3 THE LONG-TERM RATINGS OF

07 Jun 2001
MOODY'S DOWNGRADES TO Aa2 THE LONG-TERM RATINGS OF DEXIA BANK BELGIUM AND OF DEXIA CREDIT LOCAL (FRANCE); UPGRADES TO Aa2/B+ RATINGS OF ARTESIA BANKING CORPORATION; CONFIRMS DEXIA BIL'S LONG-TERM RATINGS AT Aa2; DOWNGRADES TO Aa3 THE LONG-TERM RATINGS OF

Approximately US $62 Billion of Debt Securities are Affected.

London, 07 June 2001 -- Moody's Investors Service downgraded to Aa2 from Aa1 the long-term deposit and debt ratings of Dexia Bank Belgium and Dexia Credit Local (France). The Bank Financial Strength ratings of these two banks were lowered to B and B+ respectively from A-. In a related action, Moody's upgraded to Aa2/B+ from A2/C the ratings of Artesia Banking Corporation (Artesia). The long-term ratings of Dexia Banque Internationale a Luxembourg (Dexia BIL) were confirmed at Aa2. The long-term ratings of Crediop S.p.A. were lowered to Aa3 from Aa2. The Aaa ratings of the obligations foncieres (secured mortgage bonds) of Dexia Municipal Agency had not been placed under review and were affirmed. The long-term debt ratings of Financial Security Assurance Holdings was lowered to Aa2 from Aa1, while the Aaa insurance financial strength rating of Financial Security Assurance, Inc. was affirmed.

Moody's said that the downgrade to Aa2 of the long-term ratings of Dexia Bank Belgium and Dexia Credit Local reflect the ongoing change in the group's business and risk profile, more sharply in evidence with the forthcoming acquisition of Artesia. The rating agency noted that the planned merger with Artesia strongly reinforces Dexia Bank's competitive position by creating the second largest commercial bank in Belgium with important market shares in key product areas, in particular life insurance, private banking and asset management, securities brokerage, and financial services to small- and medium-sized companies. In addition, Moody's said that the merger should provide opportunities for both economies of scale and revenue enhancements at a future time.

However, Moody's pointed out that, although the financial profile of the new banking group is expected to be characterized by fair profitability, sound asset quality and good capital adequacy, its risk profile will be comparatively higher than that of Dexia Bank at present, given the greater weight of commercial banking relative to public finance. In addition, while the group has a good track record of rapidly integrating new acquisitions, social, political and cultural impediments in Belgium might slow the integration process and consequently delay the realization of merger benefits over the medium-term. The rating agency also noted that Dexia Bank is active in the mature banking markets of Belgium and Luxembourg, which may limit income growth opportunities over the longer run.

Moody's added that, from a group perspective, the Aa2 long-term ratings of Dexia Bank Belgium and Dexia Credit Local continue to reflect Dexia's solid franchise in its activities of public finance in France, Belgium and Italy as well as successful expansion in the US through the acquisition of Financial Security Assurance, Inc. last year. While these are mature markets, Dexia's well-established position translates into a stable base of recurring earnings. The group's growing activities of commercial banking, on the one hand, and of investment management services, on the other hand, have modified its business profile, with the three core business units now contributing equally to the group's revenue generation, a positive development which translates into greater revenue diversification for the Dexia Group.

Moody's also commented that the Financial Strength Ratings of B+ for Dexia Credit Local and B for Dexia Bank Belgium continue to reflect these institutions' good franchises in their respective home markets, recognized know-how in their core business lines and sound financial fundamentals. More broadly, the group's creditworthiness is characterized by sustained profitability, good operating efficiency and a low risk profile.

As regards the confirmation of the long-term ratings of Dexia BIL at Aa2, the rating agency pointed to the fact that, now operating under a single holding company, the Dexia Group functions has a more cohesive structure. In consequence, despite some remaining differences in standalone creditworthiness, the alignment of the deposit and debt ratings of the group's three main banks reflects Moody's expectation that the Dexia Group is committed to making its full resources available to support whichever entity as necessary.

The rating outlook for the operating entities of the Dexia Group rated by Moody's is stable.

The following ratings were downgraded:

§ Dexia Bank Belgium - long-term deposit rating to Aa2 from Aa1, junior subordinated debt ratings to Aa3 from Aa2, and financial strength rating to B from A-;

§ Dexia Credit Local - long-term deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings to Aa2 from Aa1, subordinated debt ratings to Aa3 from Aa2, financial strength rating to B+ from A-, and issuer rating to Aa2 from Aa1;

§ Crediop S.p.A. - long-term deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings to Aa3 from Aa2, and subordinated debt ratings to A1 from Aa3;

§ Crediop Credito per le Imprese e Opere Pubbliche - long-term senior unsecured debt ratings to Aa3 from Aa2;

§ Dexia CLF Finance Co. - backed senior unsecured debt ratings to Aa2 from Aa1;

§ Dexia Kommunbank - backed long-term deposit rating to Aa2 from Aa1;

§ Dexia Municipal Bank - backed long-term deposit rating to Aa2 from Aa1;

§ Dexia Funding Netherlands - backed long-term senior unsecured debt ratings to Aa2 from Aa1 and subordinated debt ratings to Aa3 from Aa2;

§ Crediop Overseas Bank Limited - backed long-term senior unsecured debt ratings to Aa3 from Aa2 and subordinated debt ratings to A1 from Aa3;

§ Financement Local et Regional (Floral) - backed long-term senior unsecured debt ratings to Aa2 from Aa1; and

§ Financial Security Assurance Holdings Ltd. - senior unsecured debt rating to Aa2 from Aa1.

The following ratings were upgraded:

§ Artesia Banking Corporation - long-term deposit rating to Aa2 from A2, bank financial strength rating to B from C+, and issuer rating to Aa2 from A2;

§ BACOB Bank S.C. - junior subordinated debt rating to Aa3 from A3; and

§ Artesia Overseas Limited - backed long-term senior unsecured debt ratings to Aa2 from A2, and subordinated debt ratings to Aa3 from A3.

The following ratings were confirmed:

§ Dexia Banque Internationale a Luxembourg - long-term deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings at Aa2, subordinated debt ratings at Aa3, and issuer rating at Aa2.

The Dexia Group and Artesia Banking Corporation are both headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. At end-2000, the Dexia Group had total assets of €258 billion while Artesia Banking Corporation had consolidated assets of €75 billion.

London
Alexandra A. Sleator
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
44 20 7772 5454

London
Henry MacNevin
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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