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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms Unipol Banca's ratings; outlook changed to positive on deposit rating, developing on senior unsecured debt

21 Dec 2018

Paris, December 21, 2018 -- Moody's Investors Service today affirmed Unipol Banca S.p.A.'s (Unipol Banca's) long-term senior unsecured debt rating of Ba3 as well as the long-term deposit rating of Ba1. The agency changed the outlook on the long-term deposit rating to positive from negative, to reflect the ongoing improvement in the bank's credit profile. The outlook on the senior unsecured debt rating is now developing, reflecting on the one hand, a possible further improvement in the bank's credit profile, and on the other hand, the potential for higher loss-given-failure.

The Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) and the adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment were affirmed at b2 and b1 respectively.

A full list of affected ratings can be found at the end of this press release.

RATINGS RATIONALE

BCA AFFIRMED TO REFLECT THE COMPLETION OF THE DERISKING PLAN

Unipol Banca's BCA was affirmed at b2, reflecting the strengthening of the asset risk profile of the bank following the bank's restructuring announced in June 2017 and completed in 2018, in line with Moody's expectations.

The bank's creditworthiness has materially improved following the transfer of €2.9 billion of non-performing loans to a sister company within the insurance group Unipol Gruppo S.p.A. (Unipol Gruppo, long-term issuer rating Ba2) in mid-2017. As of end-June 2018 the €806 million remaining problem loans are mostly in the "unlikely-to-pay" category and are 47% covered by provisions, facilitating potential further disposals.

As a result, the bank reported a 10.1% problem loan ratio at the end of June 2018, far lower than the 36.5% at end-December 2016. This compares well with the current Italian average of 12.5% (according to the Bank of Italy), although is still much weaker than 3.6%, the European Union average (according to the European Banking Authority) at the same date.

Despite improvements in asset risk, Unipol Banca's creditworthiness remains constrained by modest capitalisation, limited profitability and strategic uncertainty, partly offset by sound liquidity and funding.

Moody's considers the bank's ability to generate internal capital to be limited given its small franchise and poor efficiency, hence expects the bank's capitalisation to remain modest, absent further support from its parent.

After the transfer of bad loans and the bank's €587 million recapitalization, Unipol Banca has improved its liquidity and funding profile. In addition, Unipol Banca continues to benefit from its place within Unipol, which enhances its ability to source funding and forms the basis of its business franchise.

AFFIRMATION OF THE ADJUSTED BCA

Moody's also affirmed the adjusted BCA at b1 (one notch above the BCA), to reflect the agency's continued expectation of a moderate probability of support from Unipol Gruppo.

LONG-TERM RATINGS AFFIRMED

Moody's affirmed Unipol Banca's senior unsecured rating of Ba3. This reflects low loss-given-failure, resulting in a one-notch uplift for senior debt instruments relative to the adjusted BCA, as was previously the case.

Similarly, the affirmation of the long-term bank deposit rating of Ba1 reflects the extremely low loss-given-failure (also unchanged) resulting in three notches of uplift from the adjusted BCA.

OUTLOOKS CHANGED

Moody's changed the outlook on the bank deposit rating to positive from negative, reflecting the potential for improvement of the standalone creditworthiness of the bank.

Moody's changed the outlook on the senior unsecured debt ratings to developing from negative to account for both (1) a possible further improvement in the creditworthiness of the bank; and (2) the potential for higher loss-given-failure on the this instrument, given forthcoming senior unsecured debt maturities.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

Moody's may upgrade Unipol Banca's debt and deposit ratings if the bank achieves (1) a sustained improvement in profitability and (2) resolves the current strategic uncertainty without a weakening in the bank's capital and asset risk profiles.

Conversely, Moody's could downgrade the ratings if (1) Unipol Gruppo were to be downgraded; (2) the likelihood of support from Unipol Gruppo were to diminish; (3) the bank's capitalisation were to reduce; or (4) in the case of senior unsecured debt, the stock of senior debt were to fall, increasing loss-given-failure for these instruments.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

Issuer: Unipol Banca S.p.A.

..Affirmations:

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, affirmed Ba1

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, affirmed NP

....Long-term Bank Deposits, affirmed Ba1, Outlook Changed to Positive from Negative

....Short-term Bank Deposits, affirmed NP

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed Ba1(cr)

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed NP(cr)

....Baseline Credit Assessment, affirmed b2

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, affirmed b1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, affirmed Ba3, Outlook Changed to Developing from Negative

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Positive(m) from Negative

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in August 2018. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this credit rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this credit rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Guy Combot
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's France SAS
96 Boulevard Haussmann
Paris 75008
France
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Nicholas Hill
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's France SAS
96 Boulevard Haussmann
Paris 75008
France
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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