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Announcement:

Moody's affirms Siam City Bank's ratings at Baa2/P-2

15 Mar 2010

Singapore, March 15, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has today affirmed the Baa2/Prime-2 deposit ratings and D bank financial strength rating (BFSR) of Siam City Bank (SCIB). SCIB's foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating of Baa2/Prime-3 and foreign currency subordinated debt ratings of Baa3/Prime-3 have also been affirmed. The outlook for all ratings is stable.

The rating affirmation follows news that Thanachart Bank (TBank; unrated) -- 49% owned by Canada's Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank; rated B for BFSR, Aa1 for long-term deposits, stable outlook) -- has agreed to acquire SCIB.

TBank will purchase 47.6% of SCIB from the Financial Institutions Development Fund (FIDF). Upon the completion of the sale and purchase agreements and the subsequent receipt of shareholders and regulatory approval, TBank will make a mandatory general offer for the remaining shares of SCIB. The transaction is expected to be completed by July 2010 to be followed by the expected delisting of SCIB and the merger of TBank and SCIB in 2011.

"We continue to view SCIB as a systemically important deposit-taking institution as the eighth-largest bank in the Thai banking system," says Karolyn Seet, a Moody's AVP/Analyst.

"Not only would a stake sale to TBank -- Thailand's largest car loan provider -- be a positive development for SCIB's franchise value, but it could also enhance SCIB's long-term goals of diversification and improving its market position. In addition, we also expect the involvement of Scotiabank to improve the bank's corporate governance and risk management practices," says Seet.

Upon completion, the acquisition will provide a cushion for Scotiabank to build its Thai operations. Retail and SME sectors will remain SCIB's key focus areas, and will probably complement Scotiabank's existing organic operations in Thailand through TBank.

Scotiabank is expected to merge TBank and SCIB to take advantage of SCIB's distribution network in order to expand its presence in Thailand's lucrative and under-penetrated market. The merged entity will create Thailand's fifth-largest bank and will continue to be 49% owned by Scotiabank.

Nevertheless, Moody's also believes that the acquisition of SCIB will increase TBank's overall risk profile -- evidenced by the ongoing political volatility in Thailand -- and could result in potentially higher earnings volatility. Any severe economic slowdown in Thailand could additionally derail the integration and turnaround process of SCIB.

In the meantime, SCIB will continue to receive a very high probability of systemic support from the Thai government. This view takes into account the bank's improved position as the fifth largest in a concentrated system, up from eighth position post-TBank merger. However, potential for support from the new parent is not viewed as sufficient under Moody's joint default framework to create any rating lift for SCIB's deposits.

The following ratings of SCIB are affirmed:

Long-term and short-term foreign currency deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings: Baa2/P-2, stable outlook

Long-term and short-term foreign currency senior unsecured debt ratings: Baa2/P-3, stable outlook

Long-term and short-term foreign currency subordinated debt ratings: Baa3/P-3, stable outlook

Bank financial strength rating: D, stable outlook

Moody's previous rating action with regard to SCIB was taken on 24 June 2009, when the bank's foreign currency short-term deposit rating was upgraded to P-2 from P-3 with a stable outlook.

The principal methodology used in rating Siam City Bank were Moody's Bank Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology, published in February 2007 and Moody's Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology, published in March 2007 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.

Headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand, SCIB was founded in 1941 by the Mahadumrongkul family of Thailand. The bank was listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand in 1994 and re-listed in 2003, after the merger with Bangkok Metropolitan Bank Pcl (BMB). The bank had total assets of Bt416 billion (US$13 billion) at December 31, 2009.

Singapore
Karolyn C. Seet
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Singapore Pte Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: (852) 2916-1150
SUBSCRIBERS: (65) 6398-8308

Singapore
Beatrice Woo
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Singapore Pte Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: (852) 2916-1150
SUBSCRIBERS: (65) 6398-8308

Moody's affirms Siam City Bank's ratings at Baa2/P-2
No Related Data.
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