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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms Bank Uralsib's ratings; outlook remains negative for long-term ratings

10 Jun 2014

London, 10 June 2014 -- Moody's Investors Service has today affirmed Bank Uralsib's B2 long-term global local- and foreign-currency deposit ratings with a negative outlook. At the same time, Moody's affirmed the bank's standalone financial strength rating (BFSR) of E+, equivalent to a baseline credit assessment (BCA) of b2, and the Not-Prime short-term local- and foreign-currency deposit ratings. The outlook on the bank's BFSR remains stable.

Moody's affirmation of Bank Uralsib's ratings is primarily based on the bank's audited financial statements for 2013, prepared under IFRS.

RATINGS RATIONALE

MAINTENANCE OF NEGATIVE OUTLOOK

The negative outlook on Bank Uralsib's long-term ratings reflects the rating agency's expectation that the bank's capital profile will likely remain under pressure over the next 12-18 months as Russia's negative operating environment (1) provides limited opportunities to divest non-core assets; and (2) exposes the bank to the risk that its profitability will not recover to anticipated levels.

In addition, the negative outlook on the long-term ratings reflects some weakening of Bank Uralsib's franchise, as the bank's loan book recorded growth of just 4.6% during 2013 compared to the market average of 17%. In addition, uncertainty with regard to the bank's ability to allocate capital to core banking business could prompt further erosion of Bank Uralsib's market share.

AFFIRMATION OF STANDALONE DEPOSIT RATINGS

Moody's says that Bank Uralsib's maintained its capital adequacy at the level comparable with its Russian peers and meets Basel III-based regulatory capital requirements with 10.97% total regulatory capital adequacy ratio as of 1 May 2014. In Moody's opinion, Bank Uralsib's strategic shift to unsecured retail lending as well as cost-cutting initiatives could result in greater economies of scale and scope in 2014-15 and support the bank's internal capital generation capacity. The development of new retail products -- mainly though existing well-known clientele -- together with conservative underwriting standards resulted in a gradual improvement of the bank's net interest margin to 3.8% in 2013 (2012: 3.4%), while cost of risk remained at a comfortable 1.5% (unchanged compared to 2012).

At the same time, Bank Uralsib's bottom-line profitability remained constrained by low efficiency, with the cost-to-income ratio reported at 88% in 2013 (2012:95%), Moody's expects this ratio to demonstrate further improvement on the back of the bank's cost-cutting initiatives.

Moody's also notes that Bank Uralsib's liquidity profile remains supported by its granular funding, comfortable loan-to-deposit ratio of 102% as at year-end 2013 and adequate level of liquid assets (approximately 25% of total assets).

However, ratings remain constrained by the significant exposure to non-core assets. Investment properties and equity holdings in Uralsib's insurance company accounted for 115% of Tier 1 capital as at year-end 2013. The high risk-weight exposure also limits the bank's capital flexibility, and places barriers to development of earnings-generating business. Although the bank has adopted a strategy to divest non-core assets, the pace of divestment plans as well as limited investors' appetite and challenging credit conditions drive Moody's expectations of limited capital relief in next 12-18 months.

At the same time, Bank Uralsib's capital profile continues to be adversely affected by non-business-related disbursements. Despite reporting losses for three consecutive years, the bank allocated around 13% of its capital to charity and dividend payouts in 2011-13. Moody's notes the likelihood of future charity disbursements that will exert further pressure on the bank's credit profile, while Bank Uralsib closed dividend pay-outs in 2014 (based on 2013 results).

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

Moody's says that the negative outlook on Bank Uralsib's B2 ratings could be changed to stable if the bank demonstrates an ability to improve bottom-line profitability, divests from non-core assets (in line with the adopted strategy) and maintains satisfactory assets quality and capital levels.

Downward pressure could be exerted on Bank Uralsib's ratings by any material adverse changes in the bank's risk profile, particularly (1) failure to reduce investments to non-core assets in line with communicated plans; (2) lack of progress in improving profitability metrics, and/or (3) material weakening of the capital buffer to a level insufficient to absorb losses expected under Moody's scenario analysis.

Headquartered in Moscow, Russia, Bank Uralsib reported audited total (IFRS) assets of RUB393 billion ($12 billion) as of end-December 2013.

The principal methodology used in this rating was Global Banks published in May 2013. Please see the Credit Policy 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 rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular 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 rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this 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.

Elena Redko
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Interfax Rating Agency
7th floor, Four Winds Plaza
21 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya St.
Moscow 125047
Russia
Telephone: +7 495 228 6060
Facsimile: +7 495 228 6091

Yves Lemay
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
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Moody's affirms Bank Uralsib's ratings; outlook remains negative for long-term ratings
No Related Data.
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