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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades Bank Uralsib's BFSR to E+; deposit ratings to B1; stable outlook

13 Jul 2012

London, 13 July 2012 -- Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded the standalone bank financial strength rating ("BFSR") of Bank Uralsib (Russia) to E+, mapping to a standalone credit assessment of b1, from D- (formerly mapping to ba3). The bank's long-term local and foreign currency deposit ratings were downgraded to B1 from Ba3, whilst its Not Prime short-term local and foreign currency deposit ratings were affirmed. The outlook on all long-term ratings is stable.

Moody's downgrade of Bank Uralsib's ratings is primarily based on the bank's audited financial statements for 2011 prepared under IFRS.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The downgrade of Bank Uralsib's ratings reflects Moody's concerns regarding the bank's poor profitability and the substantial weakening of its capital levels in 2011. The bank posted a net IFRS loss of US$130.5 million in 2011, which was driven by heightened loan loss provisioning charges (these accounted for 2.5% of the average gross loan book). These losses, coupled with some other large deductions from capital (such as the bank's US$49 million purchase of non-controlling interests in subsidiaries, a US$45 million dividend, and a US$29 million charity contribution) contributed to weakening of Bank Uralsib's capital levels: its Basel I total capital adequacy ratio and Tier 1 ratio dropped to 15.0% and 10.8%, respectively, at year-end 2011, from 18.13% and 13.73%, respectively, as at January 2011.

At year-end 2011, the share of 90+ days overdue loans in Bank Uralsib's portfolio accounted for 9.2% of total loans. On top of that, 7.6% of corporate loans were restructured as of the same reporting date. The loan loss reserves accumulated at year-end 2011 accounted for 9.3% of the gross loan portfolio, which is an insufficient coverage, in Moody's opinion. Therefore, further elevated provisioning charges in 2012 are not ruled out.

Furthermore, the rating agency notes the elevated risks stemming from Bank Uralsib's investment policy. At year-end 2011, the bank's investments in real estate and investment property stood at 70% of its Tier 1 capital. At the same date, 37% of the bank's Tier 1 capital was invested in corporate shares, some of which are shares of a related party. Together with loans to related parties, the ultimate level of the bank's related party exposure stood at around 60% of its Tier 1 capital at year-end 2011. As a result, the overall volume of the bank's investments in non-core assets and its total exposure to related parties significantly exceed the levels reported by the Russian peers in the Ba rating category.

"Bank Uralsib's profitability has been historically weak: in 2011, the bank's cost-to-income ratio stood high at 87% because of the maintenance costs associated with a large but under-utilised branch network, and the bank's narrow net interest margin," commented Olga Ulyanova, a Moody's Vice President and lead analyst for the bank. "Therefore, Bank Uralsib cannot rely on its operating profits for the purpose of capital replenishment, whilst the erosion of the capital levels observed in 2011 diminishes the bank's ability to withstand potential credit losses on the loan book and/or market risks stemming from the institution's substantial investments in real estate property and securities," Ms Ulyanova added.

Bank Uralsib's management has developed a programme regarding the sale of a large portion of the bank's non-core assets. However, the rating agency cautions that the bank's success in selling these assets has, thus far, been limited, and the successful and full implementation of this asset disposal programme is subject to execution risks given the current low economic cycle and volatile operating environment.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATINGS UP / DOWN

Bank Uralsib's ratings could be upgraded if the bank (i) substantially improves its financial fundamentals, particularly in terms of profitability and cost-efficiency indicators, (ii) reduces its non-core investments (as represented by proprietary investments in real estate and securities), and (iii) substantially decreases the level of related-party exposures. Bank Uralsib's ratings could be downgraded in the event of prolonged negative trends in terms of its profitability and cost-efficiency indicators and capital adequacy levels.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGIES

The principal methodology used in this rating 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.

Domiciled in Moscow, Russia, Bank Uralsib reported -- at year-end 2011 -- total consolidated assets of US$13.4 billion and total equity of US$1.6 billion under audited IFRS. The bank recorded a net loss for the year of US$130.5 million.

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.

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Olga Ulyanova
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Limited, Russian Branch
7th floor, Four Winds Plaza
21 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya St.
Moscow 125047
Russia
Telephone: +7 495 228 6060
Facsimile: +7 495 228 6091

Yves J Lemay
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
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Moody's downgrades Bank Uralsib's BFSR to E+; deposit ratings to B1; stable outlook
No Related Data.
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