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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms Banco Santander Totta's ratings; outlook changed to stable from positive

18 Sep 2017

Rating action follows acquisition of Banco Popular Portugal

Madrid, September 18, 2017 -- Moody's Investors Service has today affirmed the ratings and assessments of Banco Santander Totta S.A. (BST). Specifically, the rating agency has affirmed BST's: (1) Baa3/Prime-3 deposit ratings; (2) Ba1 senior unsecured debt ratings; (3) baseline credit assessment (BCA) of ba3 and adjusted BCA of ba1; (4) counterparty risk assessment (CRA) of Baa3(cr)/Prime-3(cr) and affirmed Banco Santander Totta S.A., London (P)Ba2 subordinate program rating and (P)Ba3 junior subordinate program rating. The outlook on BST's long-term deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings has been changed to stable from positive.

Today's rating action was triggered by the bank's announcement on 5 September 2017 that its board of directors had approved the acquisition and integration of Banco Popular Portugal(BPP, unrated). The affirmation of BST's ratings reflects Moody's views that the bank's credit profile will remain resilient after the acquisition of BPP despite its weaker financial fundamentals, namely in terms of asset risk.

The change in the outlook to stable from positive, reflects the rating agency's view that the integration of BPP is expected to have an impact on BST's capital and asset risk metrics that limit the upside rating pressure that Moody's anticipated for BST prior to this acquisition.

A full list of affected ratings can be found at the end of this press release.

RATINGS RATIONALE

-- RATIONALE FOR THE AFFIRMATION OF BST's RATINGS

The affirmation of BST's BCA follows Moody's assessment of the impact on BST's credit profile of the acquisition and integration of BPP; with total assets of EUR7.7 billion at end-June 2017, it represents around 18% of the bank's balance sheet. The merger is expected to be concluded in Q4 2017, pending receipt of the necessary approvals. The IT, operational and commercial integration is expected to materialize in H1 2018, when all business activities of BPP will be conducted under the single brand of BST.

BST will not receive any capital injection from its parent Banco Santander S.A. (Spain) (LT bank deposit A3/LT issuer rating A3 stable, BCA baa1) to finance BPP's acquisition. In affirming BST's ratings, Moody's has taken into consideration the impact that the transaction is expected to have on the bank's capital ratios, with the tangible common equity to risk weighted assets ratio estimated to decline to 10.3% from 13% at end-June 2017. The rating agency expects this impact to be partly mitigated by BST's sound capital generation capacity through profit retention, which is expected to remain broadly unchanged after the integration of BPP.

At end-June 2017, BST reported a non-performing (NPL) ratio of 7.7% and a coverage of NPLs by provisions of 60%. These ratios are expected to deteriorate to around 9% and 54%, respectively, after the merger with BPP, but Moody's expects that BST will continue to focus on improving its asset risk indicators as it has been doing since 2016 following the acquisition of the assets and liabilities of Banif (unrated).

BST's ba3 BCA also reflects its adequate liquidity profile, supported by a large deposit base (representing 69% of total funding at end-June 2017), that is expected to be mildly negatively affected after the acquisition of BPP.

Overall, Moody's considers that BST's stronger financial fundamentals and proven track-record in integrating weaker banks provide it with sufficient capacity to absorb BPP's acquisition while preserving a credit profile commensurate with a BCA of ba3.

The affirmation of BST's Baa3/Prime-3 deposit ratings and its Ba1 senior unsecured debt ratings, with a stable outlook, reflect: (1) the affirmation of the bank's ba3 BCA; (2) the high probability of support from its parent, Banco Santander, resulting in a two-notch uplift and an adjusted BCA of ba1; and (3) the result from the rating agency's advanced loss-given failure (LGF) analysis after considering the impact of the transaction, leading to one notch of additional ratings uplift for the deposit ratings and no further uplift for the debt ratings.

-- RATIONALE FOR CHANGING THE OUTLOOK TO STABLE FROM POSITIVE

As part of today's rating action, Moody's changed the outlook on BST's long-term Baa3 deposit ratings and long-term Ba1 senior unsecured debt ratings to stable from positive. The change in the outlook reflects the rating agency's view that the integration of BPP is expected to have an impact on BST's capital and asset risk metrics that limit the upside rating pressure that Moody's anticipated for BST prior to this acquisition. The stable outlook now reflects Moody's view of BST's resilient credit profile despite the expected pressure on some of its key financial indicators.

--RATIONALE FOR AFFIRMING THE CR ASSESSMENT

As part of today's rating action, Moody's has also affirmed the CR Assessment of BST at Baa3(cr), one notch above the adjusted BCA of ba1 and reflecting the cushion provided by the volume of bail-in-able debt and deposits (16% of tangible banking assets at end-December 2016 latest data available), which would likely support operating obligations in the event of a resolution.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

Upward pressure on the BCA could result once BST completes BPP's integration and makes progress in improving its key financial metrics namely capital and asset risk.

Downward pressure on BST's BCA could develop if the bank's financial profile deteriorates further than anticipated, as a result of BPP's integration.

As the bank's debt and deposit ratings are linked to the standalone BCA, any change to the BCA would likely also affect these ratings. Furthermore, BST's deposit and senior debt ratings could be affected as a result of an upgrade/downgrade of the standalone BCA of the parent (Banco Santander S.A. (Spain)).

BST's senior unsecured debt and deposit ratings could also change due to changes in the loss-given failure faced by these securities.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

Issuer: Banco Santander Totta S.A.

Affirmations:

....LT Bank Deposits, Affirmed Baa3, Outlook Changed To Stable From Positive

....ST Bank Deposits, Affirmed P-3

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Affirmed Ba1, Outlook Changed To Stable From Positive

....Senior Unsecured MTN Program, Affirmed (P)Ba1

....Other Short Term, Affirmed (P)NP

....Commercial Paper, Affirmed NP

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed ba1

....Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed ba3

....LT Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed Baa3(cr)

....ST Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-3(cr)

Outlook Actions:

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Positive

Issuer: Banco Santander Totta S.A., London

Affirmations:

....Senior Unsecured MTN Program, Affirmed (P)Ba1

....Subordinate MTN Program, Affirmed (P)Ba2

....Junior Subordinate MTN Program, Affirmed (P)Ba3

....Other Short Term, Affirmed (P)NP

....LT Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed Baa3(cr)

....ST Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-3(cr)

Issuer: TOTTA (IRELAND) p.l.c.

Affirmations:

....BACKED Commercial Paper, Affirmed NP

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in January 2016. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this credit rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this credit rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Maria Jose Mori
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Espana, S.A.
Calle Principe de Vergara, 131, 6 Planta
Madrid 28002
Spain
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Carola Schuler
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Espana, S.A.
Calle Principe de Vergara, 131, 6 Planta
Madrid 28002
Spain
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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