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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms apoBank's A2/P-1 debt ratings, raises BFSR to D+; outlook now stable

03 Dec 2013

Subordinated debt upgraded to Baa1, preferred securities upgraded to Baa3 (hyb)

Frankfurt am Main, December 03, 2013 -- Moody's Investors Service has today affirmed Deutsche Apotheker- und Aerztebank eG's (apoBank) A2 long-term debt and deposit ratings and the Prime-1 short-term debt rating, and simultaneously raised its standalone bank financial strength rating (BFSR) to D+ from D, equivalent to a ba1 baseline credit assessment (BCA, previously ba2).

The affirmation of the long and short-term debt ratings reflects a combination of apoBank's improved financial profile, as reflected in the higher standalone BFSR, and a downward revision of Moody's assumption for systemic support.

At the same time, Moody's upgraded apoBank's senior subordinated debt ratings to Baa1 from Baa2, and the bank's non-cumulative preferred securities, issued by Capital Issuing GmbH (ISIN DE0001365880), to Baa3(hyb) from Ba1(hyb), which was prompted by the higher BFSR.

The outlook on all ratings has been changed to stable from negative, reflecting the stabilised franchise and risk profile, particularly the bank's significant progress in reducing exposure to higher-risk assets and improving the quality and size of its capital ahead of the stricter regulatory requirements under Basel III.

RATINGS RATIONALE

--- RAISING OF THE BFSR REFLECTS APOBANK'S IMPROVED FINANCIAL PROFILE AND FLEXIBILITY

Moody's says that the one-notch raising of apoBank's BFSR/BCA to D+/ba1 from D/ba2, reflects the bank's stronger core profitability, a marked reduction of higher-risk legacy assets and improved capital ratios. apoBank materially improved its core business performance in 2013 to date after a costly, multi-year investment project that the bank finalised in 2012 and which has started to show positive results. "The recent improvement in profitability illustrates apoBank's stabilised franchise as its core profitability has recovered and the risk of further losses from legacy structured investments has materially decreased," says Katharina Barten, Lead analyst and Senior Credit Officer at Moody's in Frankfurt.

During 2013, the bank demonstrated a higher ability to absorb losses in its income statement as reflected in higher pre-provision income, and to retain profits in order to build capital. In addition, the burden from write-downs on non-core assets has notably decreased, owing to a material reduction in its credit investment portfolio. The bank reduced this portfolio to EUR500 million as of November 2013, from EUR1.8 billion at year-end 2012. The decrease in higher-risk exposures has reduced apoBank's vulnerability to shocks after the non-core investments had exerted significant pressure on the bank's franchise and risk profile during the global financial crisis. These pressures triggered the need for capital support in 2009 which was readily provided by the Federal Association of German Co-operative Banks (BVR; unrated). The remaining book value of structured products now represents roughly one quarter of Tier 1 capital, which Moody's considers manageable.

During recent quarters, apoBank was also able to improve its common equity base through an increase in member capital sourced from its retail clientele. The 13.3% Tier 1 capitral ratio reported as of June 2013 has improved further during the second half of 2013 to date, as the capital-raising efforts gained further momentum. Combined with the risk-weighted asset (RWA) reduction achieved through the selldown of structured investments, the bank's capital ratios are now more in line with German peers. However, the rating agency notes that apoBank's capital ratios continue to benefit from capital relief provided by the BVR guaranty, implying that apoBank's regulatory capital ratios are not yet fully comparable with those of peers.

--- AFFIRMATION OF SENIOR DEBT RATINGS AND OUTLOOK CHANGE TO STABLE REFLECT STABILISED FRANCHISE, BUT ALSO WEAKENING SUPPORT

The affirmation of the A2 long term debt and deposit ratings and the outlook change to stable reflect the higher D+ BFSR with its stable outlook combined with Moody's decision to remove one notch of systemic support that had previously been factored into apoBank's debt ratings. The rating agency says that this reflects today's weakening systemic support environment. At the same time, Moody's notes that the likelihood of future support from the head association of Germany's cooperative banks remains a solid supporting factor for apoBank, as well as the entire sub sector.

As a result of this support assessment, the A2 debt and deposit ratings are now five notches (instead of six) above the ba1 standalone BCA. The rating uplift still includes one notch of systemic support (instead of two notches previously).

--- UPGRADE OF SUBORDINATED DEBT AND HYBRID RATINGS PROMPTED BY THE BFSR UPGRADE

The upgrade of apoBank's subordinated debt ratings to Baa1 from Baa2 was prompted by the raising of the bank's BCA which in turn led to a higher adjusted BCA of a3 (previously baa1). The adjusted BCA includes cross-sector support and serves as the anchor rating level for apoBank's subordinated instruments. The Baa1 senior subordinated debt rating is positioned one notch below the adjusted BCA.

Similarly, the upgrade to Baa3(hyb) from Ba1(hyb) of apoBank's non-cumulative preferred securities issued by Capital Issuing GmbH (ISIN DE0001365880), with a stable outlook, mirrors the higher adjusted BCA as it remains three notches below this anchor level. The positioning reflects the deeply subordinated claim in liquidation and non-cumulative coupon skip mechanism. On 19 November 2013, apoBank exercised its call option to redeem the preferred securities with effect of 31 December 2013, as under Basel III these instruments are not recognised as Core Tier 1 capital.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING -- UP/DOWN

Moody's notes that the D+ BFSR could be remapped to the higher baa3 BCA level, if apoBank (1) performs in line with the bank's forecasts; and (2) further improves its capital structure, in particular by replacing maturing hybrid Tier 1 instruments with member capital. Upward pressure on apoBank's standalone ratings would also be subject to further reductions of the bank's remaining higher-risk exposures and the resulting independence from capital support provided by the BVR.

Upward pressure on the A2 debt and deposit ratings would be subject to upwards pressure on the BFSR to the C- category, implying a higher positioning of the ba1 BCA by two notches, and unchanged assumptions of cross-sector support.

Downward pressure on the standalone D+ BFSR could occur if apoBank (1) fails to further improve its capital structure ahead of the stricter capital requirement under Basel III; and/or (2) faces challenges in its core business in the context of the persistently low interest rate environment, because a portion of its loan book currently benefits from floor structures that ensure above-average interest income; such loans may mature and be extended with less favourable terms, implying rising pressure on revenues.

Downward pressure on the senior and subordinated debt ratings could be triggered by a downgrade of the BFSR and/or by a downward revision of current support assumptions.

RATINGS AFFECTED

Senior debt and deposits: affirmed at A2

Short term debt: affirmed at Prime 1

Standalone BFSR / BCA: raised to D+ / ba1

Subordinated debt: raised to Baa1, from Baa2 previously

Preferred securities: raised to Baa3 (hyb), from Ba1 (hyb)

For all of these ratings, the outlook was changed to stable from negative.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGIES

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Global Banks published in May 2013. Please see the Credit Policy 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 rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular 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 rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this 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.

Katharina Barten
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
An der Welle 5
Frankfurt am Main 60322
Germany
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Carola Schuler
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
An der Welle 5
Frankfurt am Main 60322
Germany
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's affirms apoBank's A2/P-1 debt ratings, raises BFSR to D+; outlook now stable
No Related Data.
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