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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms SaarLB's A1 ratings after change in ownership

Global Credit Research - 29 Jun 2010

BFSR downgraded to D from D+

Frankfurt, June 29, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded the bank financial strength rating (BFSR) of Landesbank Saar (SaarLB) to D from D+, which now maps to a baseline credit assessment (BCA) of Ba2, due to SaarLB's weakening franchise and its modest profitability outlook. Today's rating action concludes Moody's review for possible downgrade of the BFSR, initiated on 13 May 2009.

Concurrently, Moody's has affirmed SaarLB's A1 senior debt and deposit ratings and its Prime-1 short-term ratings. The outlook on all ratings is now stable. SaarLB's Aa1 rating for obligations that qualify for the grandfathering of "Gewaehrtraegerhaftung" (a guarantee obligation) remain unaffected by today's rating action.

BFSR DOWNGRADE DRIVEN BY CONCERNS OVER FRANCHISE AND WEAK PROFITABILITY

Today's downgrade of SaarLB's BFSR to D reflects the rating agency's concern about the risks inherent in SaarLB's loan portfolio as a result of the severe economic downturn that affected the German federal state of Saarland in the West of Germany and in neighboring Eastern France, where SaarLB mainly operates. As a result, high risk charges may continue to constrain SaarLB's performance, and its capital generation capacity will therefore be very limited.

We believe that currently, SaarLB's current capitalization is sound (with a tier 1 ratio of 9.7% and a total capital ratio of 11.7%). In this context, the agency notes that SaarLB's regulatory capital contains considerable volumes of dated silent participations (some of which will mature in 2014), which SaarLB will eventually have to replace.

The rating agency positively notes that SaarLB is committed to re-focus its activities on direct customer lending and services in the region and to deleverage its balance sheet, all of which should support its capital ratios. By retrenching its activities to the core regional economy, however, we are taking into account the constraints this implies for the diversification of SaarLB's core revenues, and thus its franchise value.

DEBT AND DEPOSIT RATINGS AFFIRMED AFTER CHANGE IN OWNERSHIP

In June 2010, SaarLB's former majority owner Bayerische Landesbank (A1, D-/Ba3, stable) sold a 25.2% stake in SaarLB to the federal state of Saarland. After the transaction closed, the state and the Savings Banks Association Saar together held 50.1%, and Bayerische Landesbank 49.9% of SaarLB's capital.

The affirmation of the A1 long-term ratings reflects Moody's view that SaarLB will continue to benefit from the existing support mechanisms available to members of the German Savings Banks Association (Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe) and regional government support from the Saarland. Moody's additionally recognizes a high probability of systemic support. Moody's assumptions lead to a seven-notch uplift for SaarLB's Ba2 BCA.

RATING HISTORY AND MOODY'S METHODOLOGIES

Moody's previous rating action on SaarLB was implemented on 13 May 2009 when SaarLB 's debt and deposit ratings were downgraded to A1 from Aa2 following the downgrade of its parent, Bayerische Landesbank. At the same time, SaarLB's D+ BFSR was put on review for possible downgrade and its Prime-1 short-term rating was affirmed.

The principal methodologies used in rating SaarLB are "Bank Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology" and "Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology", which can be found on www.moodys.com in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory, in the Ratings Methodologies sub-directory. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating SaarLB can also be found in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory.

Based in Saarbruecken, Germany, SaarLB reported a net income of EUR10.9 million and total assets of EUR18.7 billion at the end of 2009.

Frankfurt
Thomas Boemoser
Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Frankfurt
Carola Schuler
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's affirms SaarLB's A1 ratings after change in ownership
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