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Announcement:

Moody's changes outlook for SEB AB and SEB AG to stable from negative

22 Jun 2010

London, 22 June 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has today changed to stable from negative the outlook on SEB AB's A1 bank debt and deposit rating and the C- bank financial strength rating (BFSR), which maps to a Baa2 baseline credit assessment. The outlook for the bank's subordinated debt and preferred stock ratings was also changed to stable. The Prime-1 short-term rating was affirmed. At the same time, Moody's has also changed the outlook to stable from negative on the long-term debt and deposit rating for SEB AG, SEB AB's German subsidiary, reflecting the stable outlook on its parent's ratings. The outlook for the D+ BFSR of SEB AG remains negative.

Moody's decision to change SEB's outlook to stable reflects the bank's improved capitalisation, the stabilisation of its Baltic exposures as well as its good Nordic market position in merchant banking. The change of outlook also takes into consideration the slowdown in the pace of deterioration of the bank's Baltic asset quality.

In accordance with Basel II transitional rules, the bank's core capital levels improved to 12.40% as at the end of March 2010 from 8.40% at year-end 2008, largely as a result of a SEK 15 billion rights issue in 2009. Baltic asset quality remains a concern, but Moody's takes comfort from the more stable outlook on the Baltic operations as well as from the inclusion of a severe stress scenario for the bank's Baltic assets in SEB's current rating levels (please refer to Moody's Special Comment, entitled " Moody's Approach to Estimating Baltic Banks' Expected Credit Losses", published in August 2009). The rating agency also notes that the bank's loan book outside Sweden accounts for more than 90% of current overall impairments.

"Over the past four years, SEB has been pursuing its strategy to improve integration, consolidation and cost management by the end of 2010 with the aim of enabling the bank to create a solid balance sheet and position it for growth in its core markets in Northern Europe," says Janne Thomsen, a Moody's Senior Vice President and lead analyst for SEB. "Moody's will monitor the bank's progress closely for signs of sustainable improvements beyond what has been observed so far. Stable core earnings in the bank's main geographic areas and improved asset quality, especially in the Baltic portfolio, may over time lead to upward pressure on the ratings," adds Ms. Thomsen.

Moody's notes that SEB's Nordic business continues to display good profitability as well as strong asset quality and efficiency levels. The bank also maintains a strong position in the Nordic corporate banking market.

According to Moody's, the possible divestment of the retail division of SEB's German subsidiary, SEB AG, would not affect the ratings of SEB AB due to the limited size of the division. The rating agency says that the German subsidiary's long-term debt and deposit rating would only change in the event of a multi-notch downgrade of its BFSR -- which Moody's says is not likely over the medium term. Moody's added however that the maintained negative outlook on the D+ BFSR of SEB AG reflected the uncertainty surrounding the impact that any sale of part of the German subsidiary may have.

Moody's previous rating action on SEB was in February 2010, when the junior subordinated debt and Hybrid Tier 1 security ratings were downgraded to Baa3 and Ba2 respectively, with a negative outlook.

The principal methodologies used in rating SEB are Moody's "Bank Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology", published February 2007, and "Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology", published in March 2007, which are available on www.moodys.com in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory under the Research & Ratings tab. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating this issuer can also be found in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory on Moody's website. After issuance of the initial press release, the rated entity provided further comments, which has resulted in some amendments.

SEB AB is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden and reported total consolidated assets of SEK 2,285 billion (EUR 234 billion) at the end of March 2010.

London
Janne Thomsen
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

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

Moody's changes outlook for SEB AB and SEB AG to stable from negative
No Related Data.
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