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Rating Action:

MOODY'S RAISES BANK FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATINGS OF THREE THAI BANKS

12 Oct 2000
MOODY'S RAISES BANK FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATINGS OF THREE THAI BANKS

Debt and Deposit Ratings Confirmed

New York, October 12, 2000 -- Moody's Investors Service raised the bank financial strength ratings of Krung Thai Bank, Bank of Ayudhya, and Thai Military Bank to E+ from E. The ratings of the banks for their deposits and debt were confirmed. The outlook for the banks' ratings is stable.

Moody's said that Krung Thai Bank, Thailand's second-largest, has benefited from the recent government purchase of a large amount of its impaired loans. It is also undergoing significant management restructuring to improve its commercial performance to prepare for its eventual privatization. Though these measures are increasing its financial strength, the rehabilitation of Krung Thai Bank, in the rating agency's opinion, will be hampered by its size and by its bureaucratic organizational structure. The bank will also remain, for the time being, subject to greater political involvement than other banks.

Bank of Ayudhya has raised only a very modest amount of new capital to replenish its asset shortfall, but Moody's nevertheless recognizes the superior quality and experience of the bank's management, as well as the value of the bank's franchise, especially in middle-market lending. These key strengths mitigate its relatively small size.

Moody's noted that Thai Military Bank has benefited from a government-led capital injection that will now provide it with the resources that the bank's new senior management needs to rebuild the institution. The new capital has bolstered confidence, and the name value of the bank in the local market continues to be strong; however, questions remain over the direction of governance at the bank given its new shareholder structure.

Moody's said that Thailand's financial system is still weak, though following effective government measures that restored local confidence earlier in the crisis, the prevailing conditions of low interest rates and steady (albeit low) levels of economic activity have enabled almost all banks to show positive earnings and have provided a base from which the system can be rebuilt. All major banks are strengthening their internal processes and structures, and though resources are limited they are repositioning themselves to effectively compete in a revitalized Thai economy. Moreover, the Thai government is likely to continue to be able to provide some limited support to individual institutions as required. Conditions even after recovery will, though, be considerably more competitive than before, and upward pressure on credit ratings will be constrained by the considerable fragilities and risks in the system, especially for the smaller and weaker institutions.

The following ratings were affected:

Krung Thai Bank -- the bank financial strength rating was raised to E+ from E. The ratings of the bank for its deposits of Ba1 (long-term) and Not Prime (short-term), and the long-term subordinated debt rating of Ba3 were confirmed. The outlook for the ratings is stable.

Bank of Ayudhya -- the bank financial strength rating was raised to E+ from E. The ratings of the bank for its deposits of Ba2 (long-term) and Not Prime (short-term), and the long-term debt ratings of Ba2 (senior) and B1 (subordinated) were confirmed. The outlook for the ratings is stable.

Thai Military Bank -- the bank financial strength rating was raised to E+ from E. The ratings of the bank for its deposits of Ba2 (long-term) and Not Prime (short-term), and the long-term subordinated debt rating of B1 were confirmed. The outlook for the ratings is stable.

Krung Thai Bank, headquartered in Bangkok, is the second-largest Thai bank, and reported total assets of Bt994 bn (currently approximately US$23 bn) at end-June 2000.

Bank of Ayudhya, headquartered in Bangkok, is the fifth-largest Thai bank, and reported total assets of Bt434 bn (currently approximately US$10 bn) at end-June 2000.

Thai Military Bank, headquartered in Bangkok, is the sixth-largest Thai bank, and reported total assets of Bt326 bn (currently approximately US$7.6 bn) at end-June 2000.

New York
Nicholas Krasno
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: (212) 553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: (212) 553-1653

New York
Brian Oak
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: (212) 553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: (212) 553-1653

No Related Data.
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