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Rating Action:

Moody's assigns ratings to Kapital Bank (Azerbaijan)

11 Dec 2006
Moody's assigns ratings to Kapital Bank (Azerbaijan)

First-time ratings

Moscow, December 11, 2006 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned the following global-scale ratings to Kapital Bank (Azerbaijan): Ba2 long-term and Not Prime (NP) short-term foreign currency deposit ratings, Baa2 long-term and Prime-2 (P-2) short-term local currency deposit ratings and an E+ financial strength rating (FSR). All ratings carry stable outlooks. The foreign currency deposit ratings assigned to Kapital Bank are constrained by Azerbaijan's Ba2/NP ceiling for foreign currency bank deposits while the local currency deposit ratings are unconstrained.

According to Moody's, Kapital Bank's deposit ratings reflect global default and loss expectation, and are primarily driven by the rating agency's expectation that support from Azerbaijan's financial authorities would be virtually certain in the event of need. As an agent bank of the government in implementing major social and economical projects, some of which are of national importance, Kapital Bank plays an important role in Azerbaijan's payment system and economy. Although small by international standards, Kapital Bank is the second-largest state-owned bank in the country and the third-largest in terms of total assets, loans and individual deposits, with market shares of 4.6%, 3.8% and 4.9%, respectively as at 30 June 2006. The bank's importance to the national payment system arises form its country-wide territorial coverage: Kapital Bank has the largest banking network in Azerbaijan, and handles a significant portion of payments by number of transactions. Failure to support Kapital Bank could therefore cause serious disruptions to the payment system.

Presently Kapital Bank remains the only bank in Azerbaijan with a 100% equity stake owned by the government, although the Ministry of Finance intends to reduce its stake. The first stage of privatisation through a new share issue is scheduled for 1H 2007, and is expected to leave a 50% stake with the state authorities, which are likely to abstain from injecting additional capital in the bank at that stage. Moody's notes that Kapital Bank's deposit ratings are primarily driven by the high probability of external support in the event of need and could be negatively affected by the upcoming privatisation if it were to diminish rating agency's perception of such probability, which could potentially result in a multi-notch downgrade.

Kapital Bank's E+ FSR is supported by its strengthening domestic franchise, its nation-wide territorial presence, good profitability and growth potential in the rapidly expanding domestic banking market. The bank's strategic focus on expanding its retail business is also a positive rating driver, as Moody's believes that sector is currently underdeveloped and may offer good opportunities for sustainable growth going forward. The FSR is, however, constrained by Kapital Bank's small size, its low market shares and its weak capitalisation.

Kapital Bank (formely known as United Universal Joint-Stock Bank) was formed in 2000 through a merger of three state-controlled banks: the Savings bank (successor of the Azerbaijan branch of Soviet institution Sberbank of the USSR), Industrial Investment bank and Agro-Industrial bank. In January 2005, the bank was renamed Kapital Bank. From 2000 till 2004, Kapital Bank operated under a restricted banking licence with significant regulatory limitations imposed on its core banking activities, including deposit taking and lending, which constrained the bank's franchise development. In 2004, problem assets were transferred to non-banking state-controlled institution Agrocredit, and the current management team was appointed to implement Kapital Bank's new development strategy. The resulting relatively short track record of fully fledged commercial banking operations also weighs on Kapital Bank's E+ FSR, which Moody's regards as well placed in its category.

Headquartered in Baku, Azerbaijan, Kapital Bank reported consolidated total assets of US$109.0 million and total equity of US$18.4 million under IFRS as at 31 December 2005.

London
Adel Satel
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moscow
Andrey Naumenko
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Eastern Europe
Telephone: +7 495 641-1881
Facsimile: +7 495 641-1897

No Related Data.
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