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Rating Action:

Moody's changes direction of its BremerLB rating review to uncertain from review for downgrade

22 Jun 2016

BremerLB's standalone baseline credit assessment remains on review for downgrade

Frankfurt am Main, June 22, 2016 -- Moody's Investors Service has today changed to uncertain from review for downgrade the direction of its review of the Ba1 long-term debt and issuer ratings and of the Baa3 long-term deposit ratings of Bremer Landesbank Kreditanstalt Oldenburg GZ (BremerLB).

Today's actions were prompted by the joint announcement by the bank's owners made on 10 June 2016, in which they confirmed their joint responsibility to fully restore BremerLB's capitalisation. The bank's owners confirmed the necessity of a capital increase, which they intend to arrange before year-end.

BremerLB's standalone baseline credit assessment (BCA) of caa2 remains on review for downgrade, while Moody's changed the rating review direction on BremerLB's b1 Adjusted BCA to uncertain from review for downgrade. The uncertainty in relation to the Adjusted BCA's future direction reflects the concurrence of continued downside risks to BremerLB's BCA, as well as the declared owner intent to provide support measures through its majority owner Norddeutsche Landesbank GZ (NORD/LB; deposits A2/senior unsecured A3, BCA ba2, Adjusted BCA baa3, all under review for downgrade).

Concurrently, Moody's also changed the rating review direction to uncertain from review for downgrade on BremerLB's Prime-3 short-term debt and deposit ratings; on the bank's (P)B2 subordinated medium-term note (MTN) program rating and on BremerLB's Baa3(cr)/P-3(cr) Counterparty Risk (CR) Assessment.

While Moody's expects to obtain more clarity on the progress of the owners' timely recapitalisation of the bank, the final closure of the review on the bank's ratings is also contingent upon the closure of the ratings review of its parent NORD/LB.

BremerLB's grandfathered debt ratings are unaffected by today's rating actions.

For a list of all affected ratings, please refer to the end of this press release.

RATINGS RATIONALE

CONTINUED REVIEW FOR DOWNGRADE OF BREMERLB's caa2 STANDALONE BASELINE CREDIT ASESSMENT

A net loss of the magnitude announced by the bank could leave it with regulatory common equity tier 1 (CET1) and Tier 1 ratios above the current minimum requirements of 5.125% and 6.625%, respectively. Even so, Moody's expects the remaining capital cushion to be very thin relative to the challenges and vulnerabilities BremerLB faces with respect to the risks arising from its EUR6.9 billion shipping loan book as of December 2015. BremerLB's Tier 1 and CET1 ratios as of December 2015 stood at 10.8%. As a result, BremerLB's BCA of caa2 remains on review for downgrade, reflecting Moody's concerns regarding the amount of capital required to restore sufficient capital buffers against BremerLB's elevated asset risk profile. In the rating agency's view, the risks exceed the bank's limited ability to raise such capital without the support of its majority owner NORD/LB.

CHANGE IN DIRECTION OF REVIEW OF BREMERLB'S DEBT, ISSUER AND DEPOSIT RATINGS

The review with direction uncertain of BremerLB's Ba1 long-term debt and issuer ratings as well as of the bank's Baa3 long-term deposit ratings reflects the uncertain direction of the rating review on BremerLB's b1 Adjusted BCA and the rationale behind it. The bank's rated debt instruments will, upon the closure of the ratings review, also take into account Moody's assessment of the financial strength of BremerLB's parent NORD/LB, as well as the liability structure of NORD/LB, since both are currently under review for downgrade.

The review with direction uncertain of BremerLB's b1 Adjusted BCA reflects: 1) Continued downward pressure on BremerLB's BCA exerted primarily by its weak capitalisation, asset quality and profit outlook; 2) the ongoing rating review for downgrade of NORD/LB's baa3 Adjusted BCA; and incorporates as a mitigating factor 3) the very high probability that BremerLB will receive capital support from its 54.8% shareholder NORD/LB and the owners' joint intention to provide such support without involving public-sector money.

The joint declaration of BremerLB's owners published on 10 June 2016 demonstrates a very high commitment to provide capital for BremerLB in an order that would lift the bank's risk-bearing capacity to levels more commensurate with the bank's high asset risks resulting from its concentrated exposures to the shipping industry. In a press interview, the deputy chairman of the bank's supervisory board, Lower Saxony's (unrated) Finance Minister Mr. Schneider, quantified recapitalisation needs of up to between €400 million and €500 million. According to the 10 June declaration, the joint focus of the owners will be on two alternative recapitalization options, both of which would result in full ownership of BremerLB by NORD/LB. Whereas the focus on these two possibilities limits the risk of state aid proceedings and bank resolution measures being opened against BremerLB, execution risks remain around both variants. In particular, NORD/LB itself continues to operate under the conditions of a state aid case, which inter alia requires the bank to abstain from acquisitions until year-end 2016.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING - UP

There is currently no upward pressure on BremerLB's BCA, as indicated by the direction of the rating review.

The uncertain direction of the rating review on BremerLB's Adjusted BCA and long-term ratings incorporates that Moody's may upgrade or confirm at their current levels these ratings when closing the rating review if NORD/LB and/or the institutional protection scheme of Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe (S-Finanzgruppe; Corporate Family Rating Aa2 stable; BCA a2) that BremerLB adheres to significantly recapitalise the bank without exposing BremerLB to state aid proceedings.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING -- DOWN

Moody's may downgrade the BCA of BremerLB if the bank's capitalisation declines more strongly than currently anticipated -- towards the level of immediate regulatory intervention.

BremerLB's Adjusted BCA and its ratings could be downgraded as a result of a BCA downgrade or of a multi-notch Adjusted BCA downgrade of NORD/LB or as a consequence of failure to successfully execute the intended recapitalisation of BremerLB without triggering of European Commission state aid proceedings or bank resolution measures.

In addition, BremerLB's senior debt ratings may be downgraded if NORD/LB's senior unsecured debt layer provided less loss absorption capacity following last year's maturities of grandfathered debt than Moody's previously expected.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

For the following ratings of BremerLB the direction of the rating review was changed to uncertain from review for downgrade:

.... Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, currently b1

.... Short-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, currently P-3(cr)

.... Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, currently Baa3(cr)

.... Long-term Issuer Rating, currently Ba1 Rating under Review

.... Short-term Deposit Ratings, currently P-3

.... Subordinate Medium-Term Note Program, currently (P)B2

.... Other Short Term, currently (P)P-3

.... Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, currently (P)Ba1

.... Commercial Paper, currently P-3

.... Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, currently Ba1 Rating Under Review

.... Long-term Deposit Ratings, currently Baa3 Rating Under Review

The following rating input of BremerLB remains on review for downgrade:

.... Baseline Credit Assessment, currently caa2

BremerLB's issuer outlook remains Rating under Review

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in January 2016. Please see the Ratings 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.

Moody's considers a rated entity or its agent(s) to be participating when it maintains an overall relationship with Moody's. On this basis, the rated entity or its agent(s) is considered to be a participating entity. The rated entity or its agent(s) generally provides Moody's with information for the purposes of its ratings process.

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.

Bernhard Held
Vice President - Senior Analyst
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 changes direction of its BremerLB rating review to uncertain from review for downgrade
No Related Data.
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