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29 Nov 2010
Other ratings are affirmed with a stable outlook
Moscow, November 29, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has today changed to positive from stable
the outlook on the E+ bank financial strength rating (BFSR) of Gazprombank,
and raised its Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) to B1 from B2.
Long-term local and foreign currency debt and deposit ratings of
Baa3 were affirmed with a stable outlook, and short-term
foreign currency bank deposit rating of Prime-3 was also affirmed.
Concurrently, Moody's Interfax Rating Agency (which is majority
owned by Moody's) has affirmed Gazprombank's long-term
National Scale Rating (NSR) of Aaa.ru. The NSR carries no
Moody's said that change of outlook to positive reflects the improved
capital position of Gazprombank which restored its Tier 1 and Total capital
ratios to 9.6% and 14.8%, respectively,
at year-end 2009 (year-end 2008: 7.8%
and 9.2%) according to audited IFRS financial statements.
In H1 2010, the capital ratios improved further (Tier 1: 10.8%;
Total: 16.6%) thanks to strong recurring income as
well as reversal of former accounting losses on derivatives transactions
incurred in 2008.
The change of outlook and the upward adjustment of the BCA to B1 also
take into account significant improvements in Gazprombank's standalone
risk profile as a result of decreased appetite for market risks whereby
derivatives transactions are significantly restricted, as well as
the stricter limits of speculative operations on securities markets --
although Moody's cautions that the track record of operating under
the lowered market risk appetite is still limited. Furthermore,
the bank's funding profile has improved significantly following
substitution of substantial Central Bank of Russia (CBR) funding with
Moody's also observes that Gazprombank's asset quality remained
better-than-average for the banking system, with NPLs
accounting for only 3.3% of the total loan portfolio at
end-H1 2010 -- much better than system average -- thanks
to (i) lower involvement in lending to higher-risk segments (e.g.
construction and real estate), (ii) the dominance of large corporates
in the corporate loan book and (iii) the significant presence of employees
of corporate customers in the retail portfolio.
According to Moody's, in order for the positive outlook to
translate into upgrade of the bank's BFSR, Gazprombank's
total capitalisation and quality of capital should improve on a consistent
basis, as a result of: (i) continuing strong income generation
and (ii) improvement in asset quality as reflected in decrease in provisions.
The positive outlook also incorporates Moody's expectations of an
improved track record of capital management and the bank's ability
to maintain adequate capital positions against unexpected losses from
credit and market risks. Sustainability of reduced market risk
appetite -- with no significant rise in credit risks and evidence
of improvement in asset quality -- is also likely to lead to an upgrade
of Gazprombank's BFSR to the D- level.
Concurrently, Moody's has also reconsidered support positions
from Gazprombank's parent, state-controlled energy
conglomerate Gazprom, to "moderate" from "very
high". Such considerations reflect Moody's view that
Gazprom's ability to provide ongoing Tier 1 equity is reduced as
it needs resources to develop its primary investment projects.
Although shareholders provided RUB40 billion (US$1.3 billion)
of Tier 2 equity during Q4 2008-2009, the Tier 1 equity requirement
was covered only via internal capital generation, and support from
Gazprom was not correspondent to the needs of Gazprombank whereby,
during this perod, the state had to step in as a first layer of
At the same time, Gazprombank is the main settlement centre of Gazprom
group (servicing over 90% of all group cash flows) and the holder
of salary accounts of Gazprom group employees (with branch networks in
the locations where Gazprom's operations are present). Therefore,
Moody's observes potential for extraordinary support (if state support
is absent) remains, as was reflected in the Tier 2 capital contribution
and over 50% increase in balances to the bank compared to pre-crisis
Moody's notes that the outlook on Gazprombank's long-term
ratings is stable because positive pressure on the bank's BFSR will
not be sufficient to drive the long-term rating upwards.
The previous rating action on Gazprombank was on 21 September 2009,
when Moody's downgraded the following ratings: bank financial
strength rating (BFSR) to E+ from D-, long-term
foreign and local currency deposit and debt ratings to Baa3 from Baa2,
as well as the short-term foreign currency bank deposit rating
to Prime-3 from Prime-2.
The principal methodologies used in rating Gazprombank are "Bank
Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology", published
February 2007, and "Incorporation of Joint-Default
Analysis into Moody's Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology",
published March 2007. Other methodologies and factors that may
have been considered in the process of rating this issuer can also be
found on Moody's website.
Headquartered in Moscow, Russian Federation, Gazprombank --
the country's third-largest bank -- reported total assets
of US$56.0 billion, equity of US$7.3
billion and profit of US$1.1 billion under (unaudited) IFRS
at end-H1 2010. The parent, Gazprom, is a monopoly
in the natural resources sector, controlled by the government of
Russia. Gazprombank is the main settlement vehicle within Gazprom
Group, and handles over 90% of the group's settlements.
In addition, the bank actively participates in Gazprom's investment
projects, and a large share of its deposits (ca. 20%
at end-H1 2010) is related to the group. Gazprombank is
an important payroll agent for the group, and its branch network
is in suitable locations in order to best conduct these operations.
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Eastern Europe LLC
Telephone: +7 495 228 6060
Facsimile: +7 495 228 6091
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454
Moody's Eastern Europe LLC
Moody's changes outlook on E+ BFSR of Gazprombank (Russia) to positive from stable
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