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Rating Action:

Moody's assigns first time issuer rating of Aaa to OSEO

28 Feb 2011

Paris, February 28, 2011 -- Moody's Investors Service today assigned a first time long-term issuer rating of Aaa with a stable outlook and a short-term issuer rating of Prime-1 to OSEO. OSEO is the holding company for the French State's participation in OSEO Group's operating company OSEO S.A. and is fully-owned by the state.

The Aaa backed senior unsecured debt rating of OSEO S.A., which applies to issues guaranteed by the French State, is unaffected by today's rating action.

RATINGS RATIONALE

In assigning its ratings and outlook to OSEO, Moody's has opted for the application of a credit substitution approach, as described in Moody's rating methodology for Government Related Issuers ("GRIs") entitled "Government-Related Issuers: Methodology Update" and published in July 2010.

Moody's use of a credit substitution approach is driven by the intrinsic operational and financial ties between OSEO and the French State. As a result of this, it is in our view not meaningful to distinguish between the credit risk profiles of the GRI itself and its government support provider.

Moody's considers OSEO to be intrinsically linked to the French government due to its strong ties with the latter, as evidenced by the following characteristics:

- the high level of government involvement in its business plan and budget;

- its specific legal status as a public institution (établissement public à caractère industriel et commercial, or 'EPIC'), as well as;

- its essential role in the development and implementation of government policies in favor of small-and-medium-sized companies (SMEs).

Moody's notes that OSEO does not benefit from an explicit guarantee from the French State. However OSEO, which has the legal status of EPIC, is not subject to liquidation laws and its creditors have ultimate recourse to the French State.

On 22 October 2010, the banking and financial regulation act 2010-1249 organised the merger of OSEO group's four operating companies (OSEO Financement, OSEO Innovation, OSEO Garantie and OSEO Bretagne) into a new single entity called OSEO S.A., whose missions are defined in this law. OSEO S.A.'s primary objective is to facilitate the creation and development of SMEs. This mission is carried out through state funded schemes and the offer of financing, guarantees, subsidies and support.

At the same time, the law reaffirmed the existence of OSEO, the public institution holding company for the French State's participation in OSEO S.A. (fixed at a minimum of 50% by law) and in charge of controlling the public interest missions entrusted to the group.

Given OSEO's importance to the implementation of government policy concerning SMEs and the wide political consensus on the subject, we believe that the French State would extend support in a timely manner in a case of stress at OSEO.

Should Moody's perceive a weakening in OSEO's operational or financial integration with the French State (e.g. as evidenced by a change in legal status), there could be downward pressure on the ratings. Similarly, a downgrade of the ratings on the French government would also result in a similar downgrade of OSEO's ratings. We however view these as unlikely in the foreseeable future.

METHODOLOGIES

The principal methodology used in this rating was Government Related-Issuers: Methodology Update published in July 2010.

Headquartered in Maisons-Alfort, OSEO reported IFRS consolidated assets of EUR 19.6 billion (2008: EUR 18.0 billion) and a net profit group share of EUR 20.4 million (2008: EUR 28.2 million) at year-end 2009. OSEO's Tier 1 ratio was 8% at year-end 2009 (2008: 9.6%). A EUR 438 million capital increase was realized in the fourth quarter of 2010.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

Information sources used to prepare the credit rating are the following: parties involved in the ratings, and public information.

Moody's Investors Service considers the quality of information available on the issuer or obligation satisfactory for the purposes of assigning a credit rating.

The rating has been disclosed to the rated entity or its designated agents and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

Moody's Investors Service may have provided Ancillary or Other Permissible Service(s) to the rated entity or its related third parties within the three years preceding the Credit Rating Action. Please see the ratings disclosure page www.moodys.com/disclosures on our website for further information.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a credit rating is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, Moody's is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on Moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history.

The date on which some Credit Ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's Investors Service's Credit Ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's Investors Service provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

Please see the Credit Policy page on Moodys.com for the methodologies used in determining ratings, further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

Paris
Guillaume Lucien-Baugas
Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's France SAS
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Frankfurt am Main
Carola Schuler
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's France SAS
96 Boulevard Haussmann
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France
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's assigns first time issuer rating of Aaa to OSEO
No Related Data.
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