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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms Bank Polska Kasa Opieki S.A.'s A2 deposit ratings; outlook on foreign currency deposits changed to negative

18 May 2016

London, 18 May 2016 -- Moody's Investors Service has today affirmed the A2 long-term local- and foreign-currency deposit ratings of Bank Polska Kasa Opieki S.A. (Pekao). Moody's has also changed the outlook on the foreign currency deposit rating to negative from stable. At the same time, the rating agency has maintained the stable outlook on the local currency deposit rating. Concurrently, Pekao's short-term local- and foreign-currency deposit ratings were affirmed at Prime-1.

Today's rating action follows a similar action on the ratings of the Government of Poland (A2 negative), from 14 May 2016 (see link https://www.moodys.com/research/--PR_348709). Today's outlook change indicates that the foreign currency deposit rating of Pekao could be downgraded if Moody's were to downgrade the sovereign rating on Poland.

Moody's has also affirmed Pekao's A1(cr)/P-1(cr) Counterparty Risk (CR) Assessment, as well as its baa1 baseline credit assessment (BCA) and its baa1 adjusted BCA.

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

RATINGS RATIONALE

The affirmation of Pekao's A2/P-1 deposit ratings reflects the very low loss-given-failure for the deposits based on Moody's analysis of the bank's liability structure under its Advanced Loss Given Failure (LGF) analysis which leads to two notch uplift from the bank's baa1 adjusted BCA. While Moody's also assigns a moderate expectation of support from Polish authorities in its analysis, this does not result in further rating uplift to the bank's deposit ratings given the current A2 Polish sovereign rating.

The change in outlook to negative on the foreign currency deposit rating takes into account the fact that, if Moody's were to downgrade the sovereign rating on Poland, the foreign currency deposit ceiling for Poland would also likely be lowered. Moody's applies Poland's foreign currency deposit ceiling as a constraint for the foreign-currency deposit ratings of Polish banks. The ceiling is currently positioned at A2, the same level as Pekao's deposit ratings and Poland's sovereign rating.

At the same time, the stable outlook on Pekao's local currency deposit ratings reflects (1) our view that the bank will maintain its strong financial performance, and (2) the fact that it is not constrained by Poland's Aa3 local currency deposit ceiling.

The affirmation of Pekao's baa1 BCA takes into consideration the bank's strong financial fundamentals and performance. Pekao is Poland's second-largest bank, with a good presence in the corporate segment. The bank has recently started shifting the focus of new loan origination towards consumer lending, which offers better opportunities for profitability and growth. Pekao's asset quality has remained relatively steady in recent years, with a reported non-performing loan ratio of 6.5% and good provisioning coverage of 73.8% as of Q1 2016 -- both of which are better than the average for the Polish banking sector. Pekao continues to be among the Polish banks with highest capitalisation, with a common equity tier 1 ratio of 18.4% as of Q1 2016. However, Moody's notes that the bank has been distributing close to 100% of its profits as dividends last two years, and intends to do the same for its 2015 profits. Given the continuous loan book growth, this will likely result in some decline in the capital ratios. Like Poland's banking sector overall, Pekao's profitability is under pressure, particularly due to lower interest rates and a new bank tax (applicable from 1 February 2016). Pekao has been able to absorb some of these pressures due to its high profit-generating capacity.

Pekao does not benefit from uplift from affiliate support, given that its parent UniCredit SpA's BCA of ba1 is positioned three notches lower than that of Pekao. The rating differential between the two banks is underpinned by the low financial, operational and franchise linkages between Pekao and UniCredit, as well as Moody's view that the strong regulatory framework and oversight by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority limits the ability for parent banks to upstream capital from their Polish subsidiaries. As a result, Pekao's baa1 adjusted BCA is same as its standalone baa1 BCA and reflects solely its standalone credit profile.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

A downgrade of Bank Pekao's BCA and deposit ratings could be triggered by a deterioration in the parent's financial fundamentals, as downward pressure on the parent's ratings could lead to group-wide spill-over effects that could ultimately weaken Pekao's franchise strength. In addition, a deterioration of Pekao's own financial fundamentals beyond what is already factored in Moody's analysis, regardless of parental connections, would exert downward pressure on its BCA. As previously mentioned above, a downgrade of the Polish sovereign would likely result in a downgrade of Pekao's foreign-currency deposit rating.

The scope for upward pressure on Pekao's ratings is limited, given that its BCA is already three notches higher than its parent. In the long term, and conditional on the parent BCA being upgraded, upward pressure of Pekao's ratings would be largely driven by an improvement in Poland's Macro Profile which currently stands at Strong-, given the fact that the bank's metrics are already strong. In addition, higher deposit ratings could result from an upgrade of the Polish sovereign, or a higher notching in Moody's Advanced LGF analysis that would require significant issuance of senior and/or subordinated debt instruments.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

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

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

Issuer: Bank Polska Kasa Opieki S.A.

..Affirmations:

.LT Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency), affirmed A2, outlook changed to Negative from Stable

.LT Bank Deposits (Local Currency), affirmed A2, Stable

.ST Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency and Domestic Currency), affirmed P-1

.Baseline Credit Assessment, affirmed baa1

.Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, affirmed baa1

.Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed A1(cr)/P-1(cr)

..Outlook Actions:

.Outlook, changed to Negative (multiple) from Stable

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.

Moody's considers a rated entity or its agent(s) to be participating when it maintains an overall relationship with Moody's. On this basis, the rated entity or its agent(s) is considered to be a participating entity. The rated entity or its agent(s) generally provides Moody's with information for the purposes of its ratings process.

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.

Simone Zampa
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

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

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's affirms Bank Polska Kasa Opieki S.A.'s A2 deposit ratings; outlook on foreign currency deposits changed to negative
No Related Data.
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