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Rating Action:

Moody's assigns first-time A3 IFS rating to Korea Specialty Contractor Financial Cooperative

 The document has been translated in other languages

05 Jun 2014

Hong Kong, June 05, 2014 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned a first-time A3 insurance financial strength (IFS) rating to Korea Specialty Contractor Financial Cooperative (KSCFC). The rating outlook is stable.

KSCFC was established to carry out the Korean government's (Aa3 stable) aim of promoting the development of the domestic construction industry. The cooperative is highly governed and regulated by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT). KSCFC provides guarantee and financing services to its members within the specialty construction sector.

RATINGS RATIONALE

"The A3 IFS rating reflects KSCFC's well-established franchise in the niche construction guarantee market in Korea and its strong capitalization," says Stella Ng, a Moody's Assistant Vice President and Analyst.

The rating also incorporates KSCFC's close relationship with MOLIT, as well as its important policy function of supporting the domestic specialty construction sector. Even though KSCFC is not owned by the government, Moody's assumes that the government would likely be willing to provide financial support to the cooperative when needed.

KSCFC operates in an oligopolistic market, and has demonstrated a strong market position. It has maintained a market share of approximately 70% in the specialty construction guarantee market in terms of yearly new guarantees over the past few years. At 4 May 2014, its registered members comprised 89% of the total number of registrants within the specialty construction industry.

KSCFC maintains a strong capital position to support the growth in its guarantee business. Its total guarantee exposure as a percentage of shareholders' equity is low, and has decreased steadily to 0.7x in 2013 from 0.9x in 2009. In addition, its capital buffer is reflected by its risk-based capital ratio in excess of 650% at end-2013, compared to the regulatory minimum of 100%.

"However, the cooperative's strengths are partially offset by its high concentration in providing guarantees to a single cyclical industry that is vulnerable to significant deterioration in the economic environment, as well as its low levels of profitability," adds Ng.

KSCFC's credit profile could be negatively affected by unexpected and significant payment defaults resulting from adverse developments in the economy and a slowdown in construction activities.

KSCFC's profitability is low, as a result of its policy role. It consistently makes underwriting losses, though investment returns generated by its substantial capital base have enabled it to make modest bottom line profits.

Moody's would consider upgrading the rating if: (1) the cooperative improves its profitability levels consistently and substantially; and (2) it enhances its diversification from the current focus on guarantee business in the Korean market, and if it demonstrates strong risk management.

On the other hand, the rating could be downgraded if: (1) its capitalization deteriorates such that its exposure to guarantee risks as a proportion of shareholders' equity increases significantly; (2) there is a significant decline in its asset quality, such that the quality of its fixed income portfolio deteriorates or if its exposure to higher-risk assets increases significantly; and /or (3) its net earnings decrease substantially.

The principal methodology used in this rating was Global Property and Casualty Insurers published in December 2013. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

Korea Specialty Contractor Financial Cooperative (KSCFC) was established in March 1988 after the KSCFC Act was proclaimed in October 1987. The Korea-based cooperative was set up to achieve business independence for its members in the specialty construction industry and to strengthen their economic strength. It provides mainly guarantee, loan, and insurance services to its members.

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.

The first name below is the lead rating analyst for this Credit Rating and the last name below is the person primarily responsible for approving this Credit Rating.

Stella Ng
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd.
24/F One Pacific Place
88 Queensway
Hong Kong
China (Hong Kong S.A.R.)
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Stephen Long
MD - Financial Institutions
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd.
24/F One Pacific Place
88 Queensway
Hong Kong
China (Hong Kong S.A.R.)
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Moody's assigns first-time A3 IFS rating to Korea Specialty Contractor Financial Cooperative
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