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Rating Action:


02 Aug 1999
MOODY'S LOWERS TO A1 THE LONG-TERM DEBT RATING OF DENMARK'S FINANCE FOR DANISH INDUSTRY (FIH) Moody's lowered the senior unsecured debt rating of Finance for Danish Industry (FIH) to A1 from Aa3 and the subordinated debt rating to A3 from A2. At the same time, the Prime-1 rating for commercial paper was confirmed. This concludes a review for possible downgrade initiated last May.

The downgrade of FIH's long-term ratings reflects the franchise defensibility of this specialised lender in an increasingly competitive operating environment. Even if the impact from the strict Danish requirement for security revaluations is not taken into account, underlying recurring profitability is expected to come under increasing pressure over the medium-term. In order to widen its product range and develop ancillary product and advisory capabilities (including mezzanine finance, equity holdings and IPO advisory work), FIH aims at counteracting some of the competitive inroads being made by the larger Danish banks. Moody's believes that there could be a further gradual rise in the institution's risk profile which may not be accompanied by a commensurate rise in risk-adjusted recurring profitability.

Over the last year, FIH has continued to achieve above average volumes in new lending and the market uncertainties in the second half of 1998 even allowed a widening in net interest margins. However, Moody's perceives the core domestic market served by FIH in future to be increasingly targeted by other Nordic banking groups, thus accelerating the degree of market commoditisation.

In terms of FIH's strategy of investing in higher yielding Danish mortgage bonds (as part of its ongoing liquidity management and earnings strategy), predicting accurately the likely redemption profile of such bonds will continue to have a central importance.

According to Moody's, FIH's A1 long-term debt rating continues to recognise the respected lending role with and excellent links to Danish industry and the fact that, in a worst-case scenario, many of the current key shareholders would most likely provide implicit support.

The following ratings were lowered:

Finance for Danish Industry A/S -- senior unsecured long-term debt to A1 from Aa3 and subordinated debt to A3 from A2.

Finance for Danish Industry International SA -- guaranteed senior unsecured long-term debt to A1 from Aa3.

The following rating was confirmed:

Finance for Danish Industry A/S -- commercial paper at Prime-1.

FIH, headquartered in Frederiksberg, Denmark, is primarily engaged in extending medium- and long term loans to Danish industry. As of December 31, 1998 total consolidated assets amounted to DKK 47 billion (US$ 6.7 billion).

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