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Global Credit Research - 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
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
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
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.
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
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Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
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Moody's changes outlook for SEB AB and SEB AG to stable from negative
No Related Data.
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