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14 Sep 2007
Moody's affirms Macquarie Bank at A1, outlook remains stable
Sydney, September 14, 2007 -- Moody's Investors Service today affirmed the A1/Prime-1 deposit
and senior debt ratings, as well as the C+ bank financial strength
rating of Macquarie Bank Limited (MBL). The rating outlook also
remains Stable. The affirmation follows MBL's announcement
that it intends to form a non-operating holding company (NOHC)
structure, and to transfer certain of its investment banking activities
to a new Non-Bank Group which will be created underneath the Group
Under the restructuring MBL would provide a transitional bridge facility
to the Group NOHC, which would in turn downstream funds to a Non-Bank
Holding Company. Hence MBL will retain a substantial indirect exposure
to the Non-Bank Group while the bridge facility is in place.
While the initial rating benefits to MBL of this restructuring are limited,
Moody's believes that MBL's risk profile could improve over
time, to the extent that the Group NOHC is able to successfully
refinance a significant portion of the bridge facility.
"The proposed restructuring would remove from MBL's balance
sheet some exposure concentrations in large assets that have less consistent
liquidity characteristics", said Patrick Winsbury, a
Senior Vice President with Moody's Sydney office.
"By transferring many of the Group's investment banking activities
to the new Non-Bank Group, MBL would also trim exposure to
some cyclical business lines, without substantially reducing its
overall diversity of income," Winsbury added.
Moody's also noted that the proposed regulatory framework for NOHC's
would establish strict limits on inter-company transactions between
bank and non-bank affiliates, limiting MBL's future
exposure to the Group NOHC or Non-Bank Group, once the bridge
facility has been refinanced.
To reflect these potential benefits, Moody's anticipates that following
completion of the proposed restructuring in mid November, the ratings
outlook for MBL would be changed to Positive, provided no deterioration
in MBL's risk profile or credit metrics has occurred However, any
upward movement in MBL's ratings would first require the successful
refinancing of a significant portion of the bridge facility.
In addition, Moody's expects that the new Group NOHC and the
new Non-Bank Holding Company would both be assigned issuer ratings
of A2/Prime-1 upon completion of the restructuring -- subject
to any changes to the final structure, and as long as there has
been no deterioration in the risk profile and credit metrics of MBL prior
to that time.
The A2/P-1 issuer ratings of the Non-Bank Holding Company
would reflect its franchise strength, as it will hold some of the
Macquarie group's key business lines. The ratings will also
incorporate its strong earnings potential and its proposed liability profile:
it is anticipated that predominantly long-term debt will be raised
at the Group NOHC to fund the Non-Bank Group's activities.
The ratings also include the synergistic benefits of inclusion within
the broader Macquarie group structure. The Macquarie group's
success in extracting value from commercial opportunities across multiple
lines of business is an important credit strength.
The A2 / P-1 issuer ratings that would be assigned to the Group
NOHC recognize the strength of both its main business lines, but
also the structural subordination of its obligations relative to those
of MBL and the Non-Bank group entities.
Moody's anticipates that while the outlook for MBL would be changed
to Positive upon completion of the restructure, the outlooks for
the Group NOHC and the Non-Bank Holding Company would be Stable.
The Stable rating outlook reflects Moody's expectation that the
Group NOHC will operate with a conservative liquidity profile, fund
predominantly with long-term borrowings and will limit double-leverage
to a moderate level. It also reflects Moody's view that whereas
MBL would continue to benefit from a high level of systemic support,
under the NOHC structure the other Macquarie group entities would be unlikely
to benefit from any systemic support.
At the same time, Moody's also affirmed the A2/Prime-1
issuer and debt ratings of Macquarie International Finance Limited with
a Stable outlook -- and said that subject to any changes to the final
structure, and as long as there has been no deterioration in the
risk profile and credit metrics of MBL prior to that time, these
ratings and outlook would likely be maintained post-restructure.
Moody's issuer ratings are assigned to denote the credit risk of
a firm's senior obligations. In the case of the post-restructure
Macquarie group, it is envisaged that the main debt-issuing
entities will be the Group NOHC and MBL.
Macquarie Bank Limited is headquartered in Sydney, New South Wales,
Australia. It reported assets of AUD136 billion at financial year-end
2007 (approximately USD110 billion).
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Pty Ltd
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