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14 Jul 2010
Ratings unaffected by sale of retail banking business
London, 14 July 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has today affirmed SEB AG's Baa1 long-term
debt and deposit rating and its D+ bank financial strength rating
(BFSR). The outlook on the BFSR remains negative. SEB AG
is wholly owned by Swedish bank SEB (A1/P-1/C-).
The rating action follows SEB's announcement that it plans to sell
its German retail banking business to Banco Santander for EUR555 million
following regulatory approval. SEB AG's retail business had
formed a substantial portion of the bank's operations, accounting
for around one third of total loans and some 20% of deposits;
however, the division generated a loss of EUR117 million in 2009
and earnings have never been in line with those of its parent.
While Moody's views positively SEB AG's strategy of focusing
on more profitable businesses -- namely merchant banking and wealth
management -- the rating agency cautions that the restructuring carries
some execution risk, which may weigh on the bank's expected
In addition, Moody's notes that the transaction will gear
the bank's funding profile towards market funding, with covered
bonds representing almost 20% of total funding. Moody's
cautions that extensive use of covered bond funding may result in the
structural subordination of SEB AG's unsecured creditors, including
depositors; as a result, Moody's will continue to monitor
the bank's funding profile closely.
These concerns are reflected in the negative outlook on the BFSR.
SEB AG's long-term debt and deposit rating would only change
in the event of a multi-notch downgrade of its BFSR, which
Moody's views as unlikely over the medium term.
SEB AG's debt and deposit ratings continue to incorporate Moody's
assessment of a very high probability of parental support based on the
close involvement of SEB's management, shared-brand
association, the fact that SEB guarantees the deposits of SEB AG
and an additional general support agreement between SEB AG and SEB.
In addition, Moody's continues to assess a low probability that
systemic support would be provided to the bank in the event of a crisis
due to its limited importance to the German banking system. If
parental or systemic support were to be reduced in Moody's opinion,
it may add pressure to SEB AG's debt and deposit ratings.
The rating agency believes that the divestment of SEB AG's retail
division would not affect the ratings of SEB given the limited size of
the division relative to the wider Swedish group.
Please note that this press release does not deal with the possible implications
for the covered bond ratings of SEB AG.
Moody's previous rating action on SEB AG was on 22 June 2010, when
the outlook on the long-term debt and deposit rating was changed
to stable from negative, reflecting the stable outlook on its parent's
The principal methodologies used in rating SEB AG are Moody's "Bank Financial
Strength Ratings: Global Methodology", published February
2007, and "Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's
Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology", published in March 2007,
which are available on www.moodys.com in the Rating Methodologies
sub-directory under the Research & Ratings tab. Other
methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process
of rating this issuer can also be found in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory
on Moody's website.
SEB AB is headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany and reported total
consolidated assets of EUR52.7 billion at the end of December 2009.
MD - Financial Institutions
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454
Moody's affirms SEB AG's Baa1 ratings; outlook remains stable
No Related Data.
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