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Rating Action:

MOODY'S PLACES RATINGS ON REVIEW FOR SANWA, ASAHI AND TOKAI

15 Mar 2000
MOODY'S PLACES RATINGS ON REVIEW FOR SANWA, ASAHI AND TOKAI Tokyo, March 15, 2000 -- Moody's Investors Service placed long-term and short-term credit ratings of Tokai Bank and Asahi Bank under review for possible upgrade. But the agency confirmed the bank financial strength ratings of both banks at E+. Moody's also placed the short-term rating of Sanwa Bank under review for possible upgrade, but Sanwa's long-term ratings were all confirmed. Sanwa's bank financial strength rating, currently at D, was placed under review for possible downgrade. The list of all affected ratings is provided at the end of this release.


The ratings of Sanwa Bank California, Sanwa's fully owned subsidiary and a commercial bank primarily operating in the United States, were not affected by the rating actions.


The rating actions are in response to the recent announcement by the three city banks that they plan to consolidate under a bank holding company structure, targeting April 2001. According to the announcement, the consolidation will follow the "Multi-Regional Bank" concept and the group's main operational focus will likely be the retail and middle market segments. On a pro-forma basis, the three banks' combined assets would exceed Yen 100 trillion, creating another substantially large financial group in Japan.


The actions on long-term and short-term credit ratings of Tokai and Asahi, as well as Sanwa's short-term rating, reflect Moody's view that the consolidation scheme may have the positive credit risk implications, due to the group's significant size and the combined customer base that encompasses Japan's most lucrative metropolitan regions. The review will focus on the potential effects of the consolidation on their financial condition, the feasibility of their plan, and the ultimate franchise value and competitiveness of the combined entity.


The rating agency noted, however, that both Tokai and Asahi possess very weak financial fundamentals on a stand-alone basis, and their economic capitalization is below satisfactory levels, requiring continued government capital support. The confirmation of their E+ bank financial strength ratings is based on this view.


The rating confirmation of Sanwa Bank's long-term ratings reflects Moody's view that Sanwa, as one of Japan's leading city banks, has been receiving an ample amount of systemic support, and the agency expects such support to continue over the long run. The consolidation with the weaker institutions, however, does not positively alter Sanwa's credit profile in the near term, in the agency's opinion.


Moody's said that Sanwa Bank's stand-alone financial fundamentals have been under pressure, as evidenced by narrowing profitability margins. Moody's has observed that the economic and accounting environment is getting tougher for many financially impaired corporations to continue business. The review of Sanwa's D financial strength rating for possible downgrade reflects Moody's increasing concern over Sanwa's remaining asset quality problems and decreasing financial flexibility.




Asahi Bank, Ltd.

The following ratings were placed under review for possible upgrade:


Asahi Bank, Ltd. -- the Baa1 long-term deposit rating, the P-2 short-term deposit rating, the Baa1 issuer rating, the Baa2 long-term senior unsecured debt rating, the Baa3 long-term subordinated debt rating and the Ba1 junior subordinated debt rating.


AB International Cayman Trust -- the "ba1" preferred stock rating.


Asahi Bank, Ltd. (Cayman Branch) -- the P-2 short-term deposit rating.


Asahi Finance (Cayman) Ltd. -- the Baa3 subordinated debt rating and the Ba1 junior subordinated debt rating.


The following rating was confirmed:


Asahi Bank, Ltd. -- the E+ bank financial strength rating.




Sanwa Bank, Ltd.

The following ratings were placed under review for possible upgrade:


Sanwa Bank, Ltd. -- the P-2 short-term deposit and commercial paper ratings.


Sanwa Australia Finance Ltd. -- the P-2 short-term debt rating.


Sanwa Bank, Ltd. (Cayman Branch) -- the P-2 short-term deposit rating.


Sanwa International Finance Ltd. -- the P-2 short-term debt rating.


Sanwa International Plc -- the P-2 short-term debt and commercial paper ratings.


The following rating was placed under review for possible downgrade:


Sanwa Bank, Ltd. -- the D bank financial strength rating.


The following ratings were confirmed:


Sanwa Bank, Ltd. -- the A3 long-term deposit rating, the A3 long-term senior unsecured debt rating, the Baa1 long-term subordinated debt rating and the Baa2 junior subordinated debt rating.


Sanwa Australia Finance Ltd. -- the A3 long-term senior unsecured debt rating, the Baa1 long-term subordinated debt rating and the Baa2 long-term junior subordinated debt rating.


Sanwa Australia Limited -- the A3 long-term senior unsecured debt rating.


Sanwa Bank Canada -- the A3 long-term senior unsecured debt rating.


Sanwa Bank, Ltd. (Cayman Branch) -- the A3 long-term deposit ratings.


Sanwa Finance Aruba A.E.C. -- the Baa1 long-term subordinated debt rating and the Baa2 long-term junior subordinated debt rating.


Sanwa International Finance (Bermuda) Trust -- the "baa2" preferred stock rating.


Sanwa International Finance Ltd. -- the A3 long-term senior unsecured debt rating, the Baa1 long-term subordinated debt rating and the Baa2 long-term junior subordinated debt rating.


Sanwa International Plc -- the A3 long-term senior unsecured debt rating, the Baa1 long-term subordinated debt rating and the Baa2 long-term junior subordinated debt rating.




Tokai Bank, Ltd.

The following ratings were placed under review for possible upgrade:


Tokai Bank, Ltd. -- the Baa1 long-term deposit rating, the P-2 short-term deposit and debt ratings, the Baa2 long-term senior unsecured debt rating, the Baa3 long-term subordinated debt rating, the Ba1 long-term junior subordinated debt rating and the "ba1" preferred stock rating.


TB Finance (Cayman) Ltd. -- the "ba1" preferred stock rating.


Tokai Asia Limited -- the Baa2 long-term senior unsecured debt rating and the P-2 short-term debt rating.


Tokai Australia Finance Corp. Ltd. -- the Baa2 long-term senior unsecured debt rating and the P-2 short-term debt rating.


Tokai Bank (Deutschland) GmbH -- the Baa2 long-term senior unsecured debt rating and the P-2 short-term debt rating.


Tokai Bank Europe plc -- the Baa2 long-term senior unsecured debt rating and the P-2 short-term debt rating.


Tokai Bank Nederland N.V. -- the Baa2 long-term senior unsecured debt rating and the P-2 short-term debt and commercial paper ratings.


Tokai Bank of California -- the Baa1 long-term deposit rating and the P-2 short-term deposit rating.


Tokai Bank, Ltd. (Cayman Branch) -- the P-2 short-term deposit rating.


Tokai Finance (Curacao) NV -- the Baa3 long-term subordinated debt rating and the Ba1 long-term junior subordinated debt rating.


Tokai Preferred Capital Company L.L.C. -- the "ba1" preferred stock rating.


The following rating was confirmed:


Tokai Bank, Ltd. -- the E+ bank financial strength rating.


No Related Data.
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