MOODY'S UPGRADES LONG-TERM RATINGS OF FIRST HAWAIIAN, INC. (SUBORDINATED FROM Baa1 TO A3) AND BANK OF THE WEST (DEPOSITS FROM A2 TO A1); CONFIRMS RATINGS OF FIRST HAWAIIAN BANK (DEPOSITS AT A1)
Moody's upgraded the debt ratings of First Hawaiian, Inc. (subordinated from Baa1 to A3) and the long-term ratings of Bank of the West (bank deposits from A2 to A1). Moody's also confirmed the ratings of First Hawaiian Bank (bank deposits at A1). In addition, Moody's also withdrew BancWest Corporation's preferred stock rating of "a2" because those securities will be redeemed.
Moody's actions end the review that began in June, 1998 following the announcement between First Hawaiian, Inc. and BancWest Corporation to merge in a purchase transaction valued at approximately $1 billion. As of November 1, 1998 First Hawaiian, Inc., the surviving holding company, will be known as BancWest Corporation.
Moody's said that the upgrades reflect the benefits that the merger yields, which include geographic and product diversity, cost efficiencies, and a broadened management team. The rating agency also cited the improved financial position of the holding company and the stable asset quality trends represented by reduced nonperforming assets relative to total capital.
The following ratings were upgraded:
First Hawaiian, Inc. -- to A3 from Baa1 for subordinated debt; to A3 from Baa1 for junior subordinated debt.
First Hawaiian Capital I -to "a2" from "a3" for trust preferred stock.
Bank of the West -- to A1 from A2 rating on the bank for long-term deposits; to A1 from A2 on the bank for issuer and other long-term senior obligations.
The following ratings are confirmed:
First Hawaiian Bank -- A1 rating on the bank for long-term deposits; A1 rating on the bank for issuer and other long-term senior obligations; Prime-1 rating on the bank for short-term deposits and other short-term obligations; C+ bank financial strength rating.
Bank of the West -- Prime-1 rating on the bank for short-term deposits and other short-term senior obligations; C bank financial strength rating.
The following rating was withdrawn:
BancWest Corporation -- "a2" preferred stock rating.
The new BancWest Corporation will begin operating on November 1, 1998, the date of the merger. The combined organization will be headquartered in Honolulu, HI. Proforma assets will total $15 billion. Banque Nationale de Paris, the former parent of BancWest Corporation, decreases its ownership from 100% to 45%.
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