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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades FIH Erhvervsbank to Ba2/D-; outlook negative (Denmark)

13 Jun 2011

London, 13 June 2011 -- Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded FIH Erhvervsbank A/S's long-term debt and deposit ratings to Ba2 from Ba1 and the standalone bank financial strength rating (BFSR) to D- (mapping to Ba3 on the long-term scale) from D (Ba2). The bank's NP short-term rating is unaffected by this rating action and the outlook for all the ratings is negative.

The downgrade concludes Moody's review of FIH's ratings that was initiated firstly in June 2010, and which was maintained in January 2011 to assess the impact of the bank's change in ownership. Following the downgrade, FIH's Ba2 debt and deposit ratings will continue to benefit from one notch of uplift from the Ba3 standalone credit strength (also referred to as the baseline credit assessment (BCA)). The rating uplift reflects the probability of support from its owners, in particular the largest owner Arbejdsmarkedets Tillaegspension's (ATP). ATP holds just under 50% of FIH's shares.

Taking this parental support into account in the Ba2 Adjusted BCA, the bank's junior subordinated debt ratings -- which are rated two notches below the adjusted BCA -- have today been upgraded to B1(hyb) and the junior subordinated debt rating of the programme to (P)B1. This corrects an earlier oversight, when in September 2010 FIH's BCA was changed to Ba2 and Moody's omitted to upgrade the junior subordinated debt ratings and the relevant programme rating at that point. Moody's has now also included the hybrid indicator (hyb) in the ratings of both of the bank's junior subordinated debt issuances (for a full account of all changes made, see 'Rating Corrections' below).

RATINGS RATIONALE

The downgrade of FIH's standalone BFSR mainly reflects Moody's continued concerns about the bank's funding position, as FIH needs to refinance DKK50 billion (over 50% of total funding) of government-guaranteed debt, maturing between August 2012 and June 2013.

"In Moody's opinion, the bank is likely to find it difficult to attract new market funding, especially in light of Bank Package III and the failure of Amagerbanken, in which losses were imposed on senior investors", says Oscar Heemskerk, a Moody's Vice President. "We believe that alternative means to reduce the refinancing burden, such as reducing the loan book, are equally problematic, given that FIH's clients will also face refinancing problems."

Moody's positively notes that in June 2011, the Danish parliament passed a law permitting ATP, the largest owner of FIH, to hold a majority stake in FIH, increasing the possibility that parental support would be forthcoming, if needed. The law limits ATP's involvement in overall bank and mortgage lending to a 5% market share. However, given FIH's current, overall lending market share of less than 2%, Moody's does not consider this limitation as hindering ATP's ability to develop FIH's franchise. As a result, following the downgrade, FIH's debt and deposit ratings will continue to benefit from one notch of parental support uplift.

FIH has a large industry concentration in commercial real estate (32% of total lending as of YE 2010), a sector that has been severely impacted by the economic downturn.

FIH's asset quality has substantially deteriorated, as indicated by defaulted loans and receivables increasing from DKK 2.2 billion at YE 2008 to DKK 5.3 billion at YE 2010. When including non-defaulted commitments with an objective indication of impairment, problem loans amounted to DKK 8.8 billion at YE 2010, or 14.6% of gross loans.

In the weak economic environment, with Danish bank lending having decreased since Q3 2009 and Denmark re-entering recession in Q1 2011, it will be harder for FIH to maintain core profitability. Excluding unrealised gains on its investment portfolio, the bank reported a pre-provision income ratio (compared with risk-weighted assets) of between 0.65% and 0.78% in 2009 and 2010. The negative outlook for FIH's ratings reflects this weak economic environment, as well as the aforementioned funding pressures. Moody's notes that FIH has taken steps to reduce its cost base, evidenced in April 2011 by a substantial approximate 10% reduction in the number of its employees.

Given the current challenging market conditions facing the Danish banking sector, a further downgrade of FIH's BFSR could be prompted by (i) further weakening in its financial strength, particularly in terms of asset quality and profitability; (ii) increased credit risk from large exposures; (iii) any material franchise erosion; or (iv) a tightening of its liquidity position.

In light of the current negative outlook on the BFSR and the challenging operating environment, we do not view any upgrade of the ratings as likely. Over time, a sustainable improvement in profitability, and a reduction in the reliance on market funding in general -- and government-guaranteed funding specifically -- could lead to upward pressure on the ratings.

RATING CORRECTIONS

Moody's Investors Service has corrected the junior subordinated debt ratings of FIH's EUR 10 billion EMTN programme and of the junior subordinated debt issued off this programme to (P)B1, B1(hyb) and B1(hyb) respectively, with a negative outlook, from (P)B2, B2 and B2(hyb) respectively, with a negative outlook, in line with the rationale used for rating other Danish junior subordinated debt ratings. These ratings should have been updated when in September 2010 FIH's BCA changed to Ba2 from Ba3. As of today, FIH's BCA changes to Ba3, whilst its Adjusted BCA is Ba2, taking into account one notch of parental support uplift. The junior subordinated debt ratings are placed at two notches below the Adjusted BCA.

In addition, the hybrid (hyb) indicator was inadvertently omitted from the rating of the Euro 100 million junior subordinated debt, owing to the security being mislabelled as a "subordinated" debt. Moody's has now relabelled the security as "junior subordinated" and included the hybrid indicator (hyb) in the rating in accordance with our Rating Symbols and Definitions published in May 2011.

PREVIOUS RATING ACTION & METHODOLOGIES USED

The principal methodologies used in rating FIH 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.

Headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, FIH Erhvervsbank reported total consolidated assets of DKK91.3 billion (EUR12.2 billion) at end-March 2011.

Moody's Investors Service may have provided Ancillary or Other Permissible Service(s) to the rated entity or its related third parties within the three years preceding the Credit Rating Action. Please see the ratings disclosure page www.moodys.com/disclosures on our website for further information.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a credit rating 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.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on Moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history.

The date on which some Credit Ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's Investors Service's Credit Ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's Investors Service 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.

Please see the Credit Policy page on Moodys.com for the methodologies used in determining ratings, further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

London
Oscar Heemskerk
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

London
Simon Harris
MD - Financial Institutions
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's downgrades FIH Erhvervsbank to Ba2/D-; outlook negative (Denmark)
No Related Data.
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