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Rating Action:

MOODY'S UPGRADES RATINGS OF BNP PARIBAS TO Aa2/B+; RATING OUTLOOK IS STABLE

19 Feb 2002
MOODY'S UPGRADES RATINGS OF BNP PARIBAS TO Aa2/B+; RATING OUTLOOK IS STABLE

Approximately Euro 40 Billion of Debt Securities Are Affected.

London, 19 February 2002 -- Moody's Investors Service upgraded the long-term and bank financial strength ratings of BNP Paribas to Aa2/B+ from Aa3/B. In addition, its subordinated debt and preference stock ratings were upgraded to Aa3 from A1, and to A1 from A2, respectively. The ratings outlook is stable.

According to Moody's, the rating action recognizes the favorable development of the banking group's various business units in the wake of the successful realization of the synergies targeted by the merger between Banque Nationale de Paris and Paribas in May 2000. The rating agency added that the BNP Paribas group should continue to post a stable and predictable performance, even in a more challenging economic and capital markets environment, owing to its broadly-diversified base of businesses and revenue sources as well as to its track record of relatively tight cost containment. Broad business diversification combined with a conservative attitude to risk continue to translate into a comparatively low risk profile for BNP Paribas.

Among the key strengths underpinning the ratings upgrade, Moody's highlighted BNP Paribas's solid and comparatively efficient retail and commercial banking franchise in France. While the decrease in brokerage commissions and the drop in net asset values have weighed on total fees and commissions, this revenue base has shown good resilience to market conditions given the annuity characteristic of many of the bank's products. Faced with more difficult revenue generation expected for 2002, the group's area of strength relative to several other banking groups in Europe will be management's ability to continue controlling costs.

In the wholesale area, BNP Paribas benefits from the fact that its advisory and other "pure" investment banking activities have remained relatively less significant. As such, earnings from wholesale operations have been comparatively less volatile. With respect to credit risk, Moody's said that, against a backdrop of repeated credit incidents during 2001, the BNP Paribas group has shown good resilience, reflecting management's cautious attitude to risk-taking. The maintenance of a comparatively low risk profile should remain a key rating factor going forward.

Moody's concluded by saying that challenges remain for the group in gaining further market share and in delivering earnings growth in the mature and very competitive French banking market. In addition, investment banking and wealth gathering operations remain correlated to global financial markets which translates into inherent volatility for these revenue sources. Finally, the rating agency also mentioned that, while BNP Paribas is a European leader in specialized finance -- and notably in consumer finance through Cetelem -- strategic investment spending targeting expansion outside France has thus far not yielded the expected benefits.

The following ratings were upgraded:

· BNP Paribas: long-term bank deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings to Aa2 from Aa3, subordinated debt ratings to Aa3 from A1, issuer rating to Aa2 from Aa3, bank financial strength rating to B+ from B;

· BNP Paribas, New York branch: subordinated debt rating to Aa3 from A1;

· BNP US Funding LLC: preference stock rating to A1 from A2;

· BNP PARIBAS Capital Trust I: preference stock rating to A1 from A2;

· BNP PARIBAS Capital Trust II: preference stock rating to A1 from A2;

· BNP PARIBAS Capital Trust III: preference stock rating to A1 from A2; and

· BNP PARIBAS Capital Trust IV: preference stock rating to A1 from A2.

The following ratings were confirmed:

· BNP Paribas: short-term bank deposit and debt ratings at Prime-1;

· BNP Paribas Canada: US commercial paper rating at Prime-1; and

· BNP Paribas Finance, Inc.: US commercial paper rating at Prime-1.

The BNP Paribas group has its headquarters in Paris, France. BNP Paribas, the second largest bank in Europe by total balance sheet, had total assets of Euro851 billion at end-June 2001.

London
Samuel S. Theodore
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
44 20 7772 5454

London
Alexandra A. Sleator
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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