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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades Hypo Real Estate Group's senior debt ratings to A3

02 Feb 2009

Prime-1 short term ratings confirmed, outlook negative

Frankfurt, February 02, 2009 -- Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded to A3 from A2 the senior unsecured debt and deposit ratings of all operating members of Hypo Real Estate Group (HRE Group), reflecting the rating agency's expectation of a substantial recapitalisation by the German Government or even nationalisation of the group. The rating downgrade affects Hypo Real Estate Bank AG, Depfa Bank Plc, Depfa Deutsche Pfandbriefbank AG and Depfa ACS Bank. At the same time, subordinated debt of all HRE Group members was downgraded to Baa1 from A3. The Prime-1 short-term ratings of all HRE Group entities were confirmed. The outlook on all ratings was changed to negative. The rating action closes the review on these ratings which was initiated on 30 September 2008.

The bank financial strength ratings (BFSR) for all HRE Group entities continues to be at the E+ level with a negative outlook. The E+ BFSR translates into a Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) of B3, which reflects the banks' intrinsic financial weaknesses without government support. Please see Moody's Press Release, published 12 December 2008, for further details.

SENIOR UNSECURED DEBT AND DEPOSIT RATINGS NOW AT A3

Notwithstanding the pending recapitalisation of HRE Group by the German government, Moody's decision for the downgrade of the senior unsecured debt and deposit ratings by only one notch to A3 was based on the expectation that -- at least for the next couple of years -- the German Government, acting through the Financial Market Stabilisation Fund (SoFFin), will take any measures required to support HRE Group, including the possibility of a nationalisation of the group. The decision for the A3 rating level and rating stability at this level for the foreseeable future therefore hinges on the following expected measures:

a) The German government injecting an amount of fresh capital into HRE Group that will result in the Government taking a majority interest in the group.

b) The government will thus signal a commitment to an explicit medium- to long-term engagement in and backing of HRE Group.

c) The recapitalisation measures will be sufficient to absorb future losses that are expected to result from considerably increased funding costs as well as credit risk charges and impairments that will likely occur during the next 2 to 3 years of the expected downturn in the commercial real estate markets. Moody's currently estimates the resulting minimum requirements for fresh capital to be in excess of EUR5 billion.

"With today's rating action and the decision to maintain HRE Group's debt and deposit ratings in the lower-mid investment grade range, Moody's fully recognises the strong systemic support that has been evolving since the group first experienced distress and needed financial assistance in late September 2008. The decision takes into account the substantial support rendered to date, i.e. facilities and commitments of EUR92 billion which initially included the concerted efforts of the sovereign and the German banking system, as well as the more recently evolving serious efforts of the German government to nationalise the bank in order to provide for a more sustainable, long-term support and to stabilise the financial markets," says Katharina Barten, a Frankfurt-based Moody's Vice President - Senior Analyst and lead analyst for HRE Group entities.

THE NEGATIVE OUTLOOK ON ALL RATINGS REFLECTS A WIDE RANGE OF PRESSURE POINTS

While Moody's is of the opinion that the A3 rating level for senior unsecured debt duly reflects the German Government's support towards HRE Group, the ratings remain under pressure, in turn reflected by the negative outlook on all ratings. Downward pressure on the A3 ratings could result from (i) a further downgrade of the E+ BFSR, (ii) less substantial support than currently expected or any sooner-than-warranted exit strategy of the German Government and / or (iii) a decrease over time of the systemic importance of HRE Group.

In more detail, a downgrade could be triggered:

a) If the new management were to under-deliver on its set targets, thereby failing to restore confidence in the group, which would put downward pressure on the E+ BFSR

b) If management were unable to prove in the foreseeable future that HRE Group's public finance and commercial real estate franchises are viable businesses that over time will be able to engage in new business, which would equally put pressure on the BFSR

c) If the group were to be split up and major parts unwound, resulting in a smaller rated entity with considerably less systemic importance

d) If a prolonged period of no new issuances in the covered bond markets resulted in a gradual reduction of total 'Pfandbriefe' outstanding, which could also result in an erosion of systemic importance of the bank.

As mentioned in our previous press releases, Moody's may also consider assigning backed ratings that directly reflect any government guarantees. Please refer to Moody's announcement "Moody's to assign backed Aaa ratings to new debt securities covered by German government guarantee," published 15 December 2008.

Moody's will separately review any potential impact on the current ratings of HRE / Depfa entities' covered bonds, which are not covered by today's Press Release.

The last rating action on one of Hypo Real Estate Group's rated entities was on 16 December 2008, when Moody's downgraded the BFSR and hybrid ratings of the HRE Group entities and continued the review of their debt and deposit ratings.

The principal methodologies used in rating the single entities of HRE Group are "Bank Financial Strength

Ratings: Global Methodology" and "Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology", which can be found on www.moodys.com in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory, in the Ratings Methodologies subdirectory. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating the issuers can also be found in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory.

Headquartered in Munich, HRE Group reported consolidated total assets of EUR400 billion and a pre-tax profit of EUR587 million as of 31 December 2007. For the nine months to September 2008, the group reported a pre-tax loss of EUR3.1 billion.

Frankfurt
Katharina Barten
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

London
Johannes Wassenberg
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's downgrades Hypo Real Estate Group's senior debt ratings to A3
No Related Data.
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