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03 Aug 2010
Outlook on all ratings is stable
Frankfurt am Main, August 03, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded the senior unsecured
debt and deposit ratings of Vorarlberger Landes- und Hypothekenbank
AG (VLH) to A1 from Aa1 as well as its subordinate debt rating to A2 from
Aa2. At the same time, Moody's downgraded VLH's
Bank Financial Strength Rating (BFSR) to D+ from C. Short-term
ratings were affirmed at Prime-1. VLH's hybrid security
was downgraded to Ba3 from Baa3. The outlook on all ratings is
stable. This rating action concludes the review initiated on 19
The ratings for obligations that qualify for the grandfathering of "Ausfallbürgschaft"
(deficiency guarantee from the Austrian Federal State of Vorarlberg) remained
unaffected by today's rating action.
BFSR DOWNGRADE REFLECTS WEAKER FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE
Moody's downgraded the BFSR to D+, mapping to a Baseline
Credit Assessment (BCA) of Baa3, in light of stress tests on VLH's
earnings, assets and capital. The outcome of the tests reflect
the rating agency's view that the bank's performance is more
commensurate with a BFSR in the D+ range, which is also the
outcome of VLH's bank financial strength scorecard.
Moody's recognises that VLH has adequate capital levels, with
a Tier 1 ratio of 8.15% at year-end 2009 which,
however, leaves only limited room to buffer credit losses.
The bank's problem loan ratio stood at 3.64% of gross
loans at year-end 2009. The level of problem loans --
albeit slightly improved compared to 2008 -- reflects the seasoning
of the bank's loan portfolios, particularly in its commercial
real estate segment, following years of strong loan growth.
The rating agency recognises that VLH's leading regional franchise
provides a stable and diversified earnings profile. At the same
time, Moody's analysis suggests that elevated risk charges
reflected by prudent provisioning may continue to constrain the bank's
performance, and its capital generation capacity will therefore
LONG-TERM DEBT AND DEPOSIT RATINGS REFLECT A VERY HIGH PROBABILITY
VLH's A1 long-term debt and deposit ratings continue to benefit
from Moody's assessment of a very high probability of regional local
government and systemic support which is reflected by the five-notch
uplift from the Baa3 BCA. Should the BFSR weaken to D, the
A1 debt and deposit rating could come under pressure, which Moody's
does not envisage as likely at present, as indicated by the stable
PREVIOUS RATING ACTIONS AND METHODOLOGIES
Moody's last rating action on VLH was on 19 November 2009,
when the bank's BFSR and debt and deposit rating were put under
review for possible downgrade.
The principal methodologies used in rating VLH were "Bank Financial
Strength Ratings: Global Methodology" (February 2007) and
"Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's
Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology" (March 2007), which
can be found at 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.
Headquartered in Bregenz, Austria, Vorarlberger Landes-
und Hypothekenbank Aktiengesellschaft had total assets of EUR 13.4
billion at year-end 2009. The bank reported a net income
of EUR 66 million for 2009 and had a Tier-1 ratio of 8.15%.
Frankfurt am Main
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454
Frankfurt am Main
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
Moody's downgrades Austria's Vorarlberger Landes- und Hypothekenbank AG to A1/D+ from Aa1/C
An der Welle 5
Frankfurt am Main 60322
No Related Data.
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