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Announcement:

Moody's affirms KBC's ratings after Belgian Government's capital injection

30 Oct 2008
Moody's affirms KBC's ratings after Belgian Government's capital injection

KBC Bank's ratings remain at B-/Aa2/P-1 negative outlook and KBC Group's at Aa3/P-1 negative outlook

Paris, October 30, 2008 -- Moody's Investors Service announced today that the ratings of KBC Group and its subsidiaries (including KBC Bank) are unaffected by the announcement of a €3.5 billion capital injection by the Belgian Government. Moody's affirmed KBC Bank's Bank Financial Strength Rating (BFSR) at B-, its long-term and short-term deposits and senior debt ratings at Aa2 and Prime-1, respectively. Subordinated debt rating was affirmed at Aa3 and junior subordinated debt rating at A1. KBC Group's ratings were affirmed at Aa3 for the senior unsecured debt ratings and long-term issuer ratings and Prime-1 for the short-term issuer rating. All long-term ratings and the bank's BFSR continue to carry a negative outlook.

Moody's commented that the €3.5 billion capital injection of which €2.25 billion will be channeled to KBC Bank and €1.25 to KBC Insurance, offsets recent capital deterioration and provide a buffer for further capital write-down as result of exposure to pressurized assets. Moody's added that the nature and extent of support provided to KBC Group by the Belgian State is a strong example of systemic support available for the group. After the capital injection, KBC Bank will have a tier 1 ratio of 10.7% and KBC Insurance a solvency margin of 280%. The gearing ratio of the holding company is unchanged at 106%.

On 15 October, KBC had announced €1.6 billion of impairments on its CDO portfolio. Moody's had then affirmed KBC's ratings and commented that there is no longer any material difference between Moody's current stress tests on structured finance exposures and the cumulative amount of write-downs taken by KBC (see Issuer Comment released on 16 October).

The bank maintains sizeable exposure to structured finance asset classes, in particular those from the ca. €9 billion CDO portfolio, €5.2 RMBS and €2.0 billion ABS. However, Moody's acknowledges that significant part of the impairments on this portfolio has already been recognized through negative revaluation reserves and P&L as of end-September 2008. Additionally, in Moody's view, the increase of KBC Bank's regulatory capital (through the €2 billion Tier 1 issue of May 2008 and the recent capital injection from the Belgian state) addresses the impact of the impairments and helps offset potential further capital losses on this portfolio.

Moody's will continue to monitor potential additional structured finance impairments, as well as any further stress on the group's assets and/or profitability resulting from the present market turmoil and likely more challenging economic environment overall in the markets the group is operating. KBC's ratings continue to carry a negative outlook reflecting both the deteriorating environment and the inherent volatility in some of KBC's business units, including KBC FP's activities, CEE and Russia.

Based in Brussels, KBC Group had total assets amounting to €377.4 billion at end-June 2008. KBC Group's total income for the first half of 2008 (IFRS) stood at €4,360 million, down from €5,136 million in H1 2007. In the same period, the net profit group share stood at €1,047 million (H1 2007: €1,933 million). In Q2 2008, the Group had announced additional pre-tax mark-downs of €314 million (Q1 2008: €141 million) on structured credit investments which affected the P&L. Additional pre-tax mark-downs of €105 million (Q1 2008: €91 million) on structured credit investments were recorded directly in equity and thus did not impact the P&L.

London
Reynold R. Leegerstee
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Paris
Stephane Le Priol
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's France S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

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