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Announcement:

Moody's confirms ratings of Caixabank, La Caixa, Banco Sabadell and Banco CAM, maintains other banks on review

24 Oct 2012

Madrid, October 24, 2012 -- Moody's Investors Service has today taken various actions on the ratings of seven Spanish banking groups that are involved in merger processes. These actions reflect two drivers (1) the confirmation of Spain's government debt rating, which had previously been on review for downgrade (see Moody's press release of 16 October 2012 http://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-confirms-Spains-government-bond-rating-at-Baa3PP-3-assigns--PR_257500); and (2) enhanced clarity about the relevant merger processes in the cases of Caixabank/La Caixa, Banco Sabadell and Banco CAM.

This press release discusses the rationale behind the actions on banks involved in merger processes. Those actions occurred in the context of broader actions on a total of 31 Spanish banks, discussed in today's separate release "Moody's concludes rating reviews on majority of Spanish banks after sovereign rating confirmation"). A third release discusses the rationale behind today's actions on Liberbank and Ibercaja Banco (see "Moody's downgrades Liberbank to Ba3, maintains review for downgrade of Ibercaja Banco, following merger break-up").

A summary of today's actions follows (banks ranked by ratings):

RATING REVIEWS THAT HAVE BEEN RESOLVED

- La Caixa (senior long-term rating Ba2, outlook negative)

- CaixaBank (Baa3 negative, D+/ba1 negative)

- Banco Sabadell, SA (Ba1 negative, D/ba2 negative)

- Banco CAM, SA (Ba1 negative, E+/b3 on review for upgrade)

BANK RATINGS THAT REMAIN ON REVIEW

- Caja Laboral (Baa3 on review for downgrade, D+/baa3 on review for downgrade)

- Banco Popular Español, SA (Ba1 on review for downgrade, D/ba2 on review for downgrade)

- Unicaja Banco, SA (Ba1 on review for downgrade, D/ba2 on review for downgrade)

- Banco CEISS (B1 on review, direction uncertain, E+/b2 on review, direction uncertain)

A full list of all affected ratings is available by clicking on this hyperlink http://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBC_146671. This list is an integral part of this release.

For additional information on bank ratings, please refer to the webpage containing Moody's related announcements http://www.moodys.com/eusovereign

RATINGS RATIONALE

BANKS WHOSE RATING REVIEWS HAVE BEEN RESOLVED

The resolution of the rating reviews for the long-term ratings of Caixabank/La Caixa, Banco Sabadell and Banco CAM reflects Moody's assessment that (1) downside risks related to the sovereign have diminished; and (2) sufficient information is available to facilitate a forward-looking assessment of the creditworthiness of the merged institutions.

--CAIXABANK (Baa3 negative, D+/ba1 negative)

The confirmation of the D+ standalone bank financial strength rating (BFSR) and ba1 standalone baseline credit assessment (BCA) of Caixabank reflects Moody's opinion that Caixabank will absorb its acquisition of Banca Civica without a significant weakening of its credit profile that would warrant a lower standalone credit assessment for the merged institution. Banca Civica, which was not publicly rated, ceased to exist on 3 August 2012. The Baa3 long-term ratings have also been confirmed, because Moody's assumptions about support for the merged institution are unchanged from its support assumptions for Caixabank prior to the merger.

Moody's notes that the increased risk profile of Caixabank following Banca Civica's acquisition has been largely offset by the significant balance sheet clean-up at the inception of the merger, thus aligning the combined entity's risk profile with the stronger risk profile of Caixabank; the sound evolution of the group during H1 2012 underpins this expectation. Furthermore, Moody's stated that the remaining integration risks are captured in the ba1 standalone baseline credit assessment of the new group.

The negative outlook that Moody's has assigned to the standalone credit assessments and long-term ratings of Caixabank incorporates the challenges the merged institution faces. Those include the extremely challenging operating environment, characterized by the recessionary domestic economy, real estate crisis, very high unemployment and the broader euro area sovereign and banking crisis. These conditions will likely lead to further asset quality deterioration across the banking system and pose risks to the already-fragile confidence of funding providers.

--LA CAIXA (Ba2, negative)

Moody's has confirmed the Ba2 senior long-term rating of La Caixa, the holding company of Caixabank. The rating is closely linked to its main operating entity, Caixabank. Consistent with the outlook on Caixabank's rating, the outlook on La Caixa's rating is negative.

--BANCO SABADELL (Ba1 negative, D/ba2 negative)

The confirmation of the D standalone BFSR and ba2 BCA of Banco Sabadell reflects Moody's opinion that the merger with Banco CAM will result in a merged institution with similar standalone credit strength to Banco Sabadell's existing profile. The Ba1 senior long-term rating and all other debt and deposit ratings have also been confirmed as Moody's support assumptions for the merged institutions are unchanged from Moody's support assumptions for Banco Sabadell.

Although Moody's acknowledges the very weak credit profile of Banco CAM (as reflected by its b3 standalone credit assessment), the rating agency notes that the incremental risk profile for the combined group is largely offset by the broad public support package that was committed at the time of the acquisition. Banco CAM's fragile risk absorption capacity will be compensated by an Asset Protection Scheme funded by the Deposit Guarantee Fund (FGD), which covers the bulk of the bank's exposure to toxic assets (80% of a predominantly real-estate portfolio of EUR24.6 billion) and a EUR5.2 billion capital injection made by the FGD.

Moody's has assigned a negative outlook to the standalone credit assessment and long-term ratings of Banco Sabadell. The negative outlooks reflect the broader challenges facing Spanish banks and the execution risks of the merger.

--BANCO CAM (Ba1 negative, E+/b3 on review for upgrade)

The E+ standalone BFSR and b3 BCA of Banco CAM reflect its very weak standalone credit profile. It has been placed on review for upgrade to reflect the positive implications of integrating into a stronger bank. Moody's expects to withdraw the standalone credit assessment and issuer ratings of Banco CAM, as the entity will cease to exist upon completion of the merger transaction, which is expected to be effective on 8 December 2012. As a result of the completion of the merger, the deposit and debt obligations of Banco CAM will be assumed by Banco Sabadell.

Banco CAM's Ba1 senior long-term rating and all its other long-term ratings have been confirmed. These ratings reflect Moody's assumptions about strong parental support from Banco Sabadell given the advanced status of the merger. Moody's has assigned a negative outlook on the long-term ratings of Banco CAM, in line with its parent Banco Sabadell.

BANKS WHOSE RATINGS REMAIN ON REVIEW

--CAJA LABORAL (Baa3 on review for downgrade, D+/baa3 on review for downgrade)

Moody's maintains on review for downgrade the D+ standalone BFSR and its baa3 BCA of Caja Laboral. The ongoing review reflects the possibility that, following the completion of its merger agreement with Ipar Kutxa Rural, SCC (not publicly rated), the merged institution will have a weaker credit profile than Caja Laboral. A weaker credit profile could result from the combination of recent weakening in Caja Laboral's asset performance, new risk elements added by the merger with Ipar Kutxa and the execution risks involved in any merger. Moody's expects to conclude the review process shortly after it has sufficient visibility on the most relevant execution details of the merger.

The Baa3 senior long-term ratings of Caja Laboral also remain on review for downgrade, reflecting the review status of the standalone credit profile.

--BANCO POPULAR ESPAÑOL (Ba1 on review for downgrade, D/ba2 on review for downgrade)

Moody's maintains on review for downgrade the D standalone BFSR and its ba2 BCA of Banco Popular Español SA (Banco Popular). Moody's says that it will conclude the current assessment of Banco Popular's merger with Banco Pastor once there is more certainty about the materialization of the different capital strengthening initiatives that Banco Popular is implementing to reinforce its risk-absorption capacity. Driven by the large capital needs revealed by Oliver Wyman's stress test exercise for the combined entity, Banco Popular has accelerated its re-capitalitalization plan which now hinges on a € 2.5 billion rights issue that the bank expects to conduct shortly. Moody's notes that the bank's standalone profile could come under significant pressure if it fails to meet capital shortfall from private internal or external means.

The Ba1 senior long-term ratings of Banco Popular also remain on review for downgrade, reflecting the review status of the standalone credit profile.

--UNICAJA BANCO (Ba1 on review for downgrade, D/ba2 on review for downgrade)

Moody's maintains on review for downgrade the D standalone BFSR and its ba2 BCA of Unicaja Banco (Unicaja). The ongoing review reflects some remaining uncertainty about the completion of the merger with Banco CEISS, as well as the possibility that the merged institution will have a weaker credit profile than Unicaja. Moody's expects to conclude the review process shortly after the rating agency will have more clarity on the effective materialization of the merger as well as on the details of the integration plan.

The Ba1 senior long-term ratings of Unicaja also remain on review for downgrade, reflecting the review status of the standalone credit profile.

--BANCO CEISS (B1 on review, direction uncertain, E+/b2 on review, direction uncertain)

Moody´s maintains on review with direction uncertain the E+ standalone BFSR and its b2 BCA of Banco CEISS, reflecting the likelihood that the rating of the resultant combined entity might be higher than its current ratings or lower in the event that the merger process fails to succeed. Moody's expects to conclude the review for Banco CEISS in line with the conclusion of the review of Unicaja.

The B1 senior long-term ratings of Banco CEISS also remain on review with direction uncertain, reflecting the review status of the standalone credit profile.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

Downwards pressure on the banks' ratings might develop if operating conditions worsen beyond Moody's current expectations, i.e. a broader economic recession beyond our current GDP decline forecasts of -1.7% for 2012 and -1% for 2013; especially given that this is likely to result in asset-quality deterioration exceeding Moody's current expectations; and/or if pressures on market-funding intensify.

Upwards pressure on the ratings may arise upon the implementation of the government's plan to stabilise the banking system, to the extent that the banks' resilience to the challenging prevailing conditions improves. Likewise, any improvement in the standalone strength of banks arising from stronger earnings, improved funding conditions or the resolution of problem assets could result in rating upgrades.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

- Moody's confirms Spain's government bond rating at Baa3/(P)P-3, assigns negative outlook (http://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-confirms-Spains-government-bond-rating-at-Baa3PP-3-assigns--PR_257500), 16 Oct 2012

- Moody's takes actions on 4 Spanish banking groups due to restructuring framework (http://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-takes-actions-on-4-Spanish-banking-groups-due-to--PR_255526), 5 Oct 2012

- Sector Comment: Spanish Banks' Upcoming Recapitalization Is Credit Positive, but May Be Insufficient (http://www.moodys.com/research/Spanish-Banks-Upcoming-Recapitalization-Is-Credit-Positive-but-May-Be--PBC_145834), 1 Oct 2012

- Banking System Outlook: Spain (http://www.moodys.com/research/Banking-System-Outlook-Spain--PBC_144617), 17 Aug 2012

- Moody's downgrades Spanish banks (http://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-downgrades-Spanish-banks--PR_249316), 25 Jun 2012

- How Sovereign Credit Quality May Affect Other Ratings (http://www.moodys.com/research/How-Sovereign-Credit-Quality-May-Affect-Other-Ratings--PBC_139495), 13 Feb 2012

- Moody's to assign backed Aaa ratings to new euro-denominated long-term debt securities covered by Spanish government's guarantee (http://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-to-assign-backed-Aaa-ratings-to-new-euro-denominated--PR_171216), 22 January 2009

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Moody's Consolidated Global Bank Rating Methodology published in June 2012. Please see the Credit Policy 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 relevant 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 relevant regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides relevant 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.

The ratings have been disclosed to the rated entities or their designated agent(s) and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

Information sources used to prepare each of the ratings are the following: parties involved in the ratings, public information, and confidential and proprietary Moody's Investors Service information.

Moody's considers the quality of information available on the rated entities, obligations or credits satisfactory for the purposes of issuing these ratings

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning the ratings is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, Moody's is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Moody's Investors Service may have provided Ancillary or Other Permissible Service(s) to the rated entities or their related third parties within the two years preceding the credit rating action. Please see the special report "Ancillary or other permissible services provided to entities rated by MIS's EU credit rating agencies" on the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

Please see the ratings disclosure page on www.moodys.com for general disclosure on potential conflicts of interests.

Please see the ratings disclosure page on www.moodys.com for information on (A) MCO's major shareholders (above 5%) and for (B) further information regarding certain affiliations that may exist between directors of MCO and rated entities as well as (C) the names of entities that hold ratings from MIS that have also publicly reported to the SEC an ownership interest in MCO of more than 5%. A member of the board of directors of this rated entity may also be a member of the board of directors of a shareholder of Moody's Corporation; however, Moody's has not independently verified this matter.

Please see Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions on the Rating Process page on www.moodys.com for further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history. The date on which some ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

The below contact information is provided for information purposes only. Please see the issuer page on www.moodys.com for Moody's regulatory disclosure of the name of the lead analyst and the office that has issued the credit rating.

Maria?Cabanyes
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Espana, S.A.
Calle Principe de Vergara, 131, 6 Planta
Madrid 28002
Spain
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Johannes Wassenberg
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Espana, S.A.
Calle Principe de Vergara, 131, 6 Planta
Madrid 28002
Spain
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's confirms ratings of Caixabank, La Caixa, Banco Sabadell and Banco CAM, maintains other banks on review
No Related Data.
© 2019 Moody’s Corporation, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., Moody’s Analytics, Inc. and/or their licensors and affiliates (collectively, “MOODY’S”). All rights reserved.

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