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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades SNS REAAL entities and debt ratings

31 Jan 2013

London, 31 January 2013 -- Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded SNS Bank's Bank Financial Strength Rating (BFSR) to E from E+, now equivalent to a baseline credit assessment of ca (b3 previously). Concurrently, Moody's has also downgraded to Baa3/Prime-3, from Baa2/Prime-2, and maintained on review for further downgrade, SNS Bank's senior unsecured and deposit ratings. SNS Bank's dated subordinated debt rating was downgraded to Caa3 (from Caa1) on review with direction uncertain and SNS Bank's EUR200 million Tier 1 security was downgraded to Ca(hyb) from Caa3(hyb). SNS Bank's EUR320 million Tier 1 security was confirmed at Ca(hyb).

The Insurance Financial Strength Ratings (IFSRs) of SRLEV and REAAL Schadeverzekeringen were also downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1 and were maintained on review for further downgrade. SRLEV's subordinated instruments were downgraded to B1(hyb) from Ba1(hyb) and placed on review with direction uncertain.

As a result of the action on the operational entities of the group, the rating agency has also downgraded to Ba2/(P)Not-Prime, from Baa3/(P)Prime-3, and placed on review for downgrade SNS REAAL's senior unsecured ratings. Concurrently, SNS REAAL's subordinated debt rating was downgraded to Caa3 from Caa1, and placed on review with direction uncertain, while its Tier 1 securities rating was downgraded to Ca(hyb), from Caa2(hyb).

A list of affected credit ratings is available at the end of this Press Release.

RATINGS RATIONALE

--- SNS BANK'S STANDALONE FINANCIAL STRENGTH

Today's action on SNS Bank's BFSR concludes the review initiated on November 2012, and reflects Moody's assessment of a very high likelihood that extraordinary public support will be needed to achieve a solution which will address the very serious problems posed by the weak and deteriorating asset quality of the bank's Property Finance division, in order to allow SNS Bank to remain a going concern over the rating horizon. While receipt of extraordinary support would likely strengthen the bank's financial position going forward, its baseline credit assessment has, for now, been moved to 'ca' to reflect Moody's expectation that extraordinary support will be needed.

The SNS REAAL group is continuing to explore scenarios aimed at addressing the threats posed to its capitalization and profitability by the risks relating to commercial real estate exposures in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe incurred in its Property Finance division. For now, SNS REAAL's efforts appear to be focused on a scenario that would involve the participation of private investors in a significant share issue, supported by some form of liability management exercise. However, notwithstanding the possible involvement of private sector investors in such a solution, Moody's considers it is very likely that some form of extraordinary support by the Dutch authorities will be needed to complement any such scenario. In addition, Moody's considers the failure to reach an agreement with private investors would likely result in the Dutch government extending extraordinary support by more direct means at some point over the rating horizon, most likely in the coming months. Therefore, Moody's now considers that SNS Bank will very probably require some extraordinary support to remain a going concern over the rating horizon, consistent with a E/ca standalone financial strength rating.

--- SNS BANK'S DEPOSIT AND SENIOR UNSECURED DEBT RATINGS

The downgrade to Baa3/Prime-3 of SNS Bank's debt and deposit ratings was triggered by the action on SNS Bank's standalone BFSR. The bank's debt and deposit ratings now include 10 notches of uplift from the BCA, reflecting the very high probability of support by the Dutch government.

As one of the four largest domestic banks with a domestic-retail deposit market share of around 11%, Moody's regards SNS Bank as a systemically important institution in the Netherlands. In addition, the strong creditworthiness of the government of the Netherlands (Aaa, negative) provides it with the capacity to support its banking system, in Moody's view. As such, the rating agency considers that there is a high likelihood that support would be forthcoming, which is consistent with SNS Bank's deposit rating remaining in the investment grade category.

Notwithstanding this, SNS Bank's senior unsecured and deposit ratings are on review for further downgrade. In Moody's view, the risk of burden sharing among senior creditors would increase were multiple rounds of support to be required. The agency notes that, following the introduction of the Dutch Intervention Act in June 2012, the Dutch Ministry of Finance and the Dutch Central Bank now have a range of options for dealing with troubled financial institutions, including the transfer of assets and liabilities to "bridge banks". The review will therefore assess the extent to which the discussions currently under way within the group result in a solution which, by providing the bank with the additional capital required to remove the threat posed by its commercial real estate portfolio, minimises the likelihood of further rounds of support being required. In the event that Moody's concludes that the solution may not fully resolve the bank's current challenges, the agency will assess whether it would be appropriate to move the bank's debt and deposit ratings into speculative grade.

--- INSURANCE FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATINGS

The downgrade of REAAL Schadeverzekeringen and SRLEV's IFSRs to Baa2 from Baa1 reflects the weakening credit profile of SNS Bank and the significant contagion risks between the insurance and the banking operations of the SNS REAAL group, notably with respect to its capital, franchise and financial flexibility.

Moody's says that its review of the IFSRs will focus on the risks to the insurance operations' market position, profitability, capitalisation and access to capital markets, in the context of the bank's standalone credit profile and the expected role of the insurance operations within the SNS REAAL group. Moody's says that a potential decision by SNS REAAL to divest the insurance operations may limit the risks of contagion from the bank, while a decision to retain these operations could potentially lead to further significant downward pressures on the IFSRs, due to the potential for ongoing contagion for the insurance operations in that scenario.

--- SNS REAAL HOLDING COMPANY SENIOR DEBT AND SHORT-TERM DEBT RATING

The downgrade of SNS REAAL's senior and short-term debt ratings reflect the downgrade of both SNS Bank's senior debt rating and of the insurance operations' IFSRs, as well as the increasing risk that holding company creditors may be exposed to any burden sharing as part of any restructuring.

Moody's review on the senior debt rating of SNS REAAL will focus on the extent to which systemic support that would be available to the banking units would benefit the holding company.

--- SUBORDINATED DEBT RATINGS

The downgrade of SNS Bank's dated subordinated debt to Caa3 from Caa1 reflects the high risk posed to holders of these instruments by the bank's need to obtain additional capital, and the likelihood of burden sharing that it entails. For example, these instruments may well be subject to a liability management exercise as part of the scenarios currently under discussion, with bondholders being asked to consent to a loss of principal that would be considered a distressed exchange by Moody's. Moody's rating also reflects the risk that the instruments may be transferred to a bridge bank and be subject to credit losses in the event of direct state intervention.

The rating is on review with direction uncertain, reflecting Moody's view that a restructuring plan involving private investors could limit or reduce the risks of burden sharing. On the downside, the failure to conclude such a plan could lead to scenarios where these securities may be exposed to higher losses, potentially through a state-imposed restructuring, as discussed above.

The downgrade of SNS REAAL's subordinated debt rating to Caa3 from Caa1 mirrors the rating action on SNS Bank's dated subordinated debt rating. This reflects Moody's opinion that in any restructuring scenario where burden sharing would be imposed on the group's creditors or where the group would undertake a liability management exercise, there would likely be little differentiation between the treatment of the bank's issued subordinated debt and that issued by the holding company.

--- HYBRID INSTRUMENTS

SNS Bank's EUR200 million Tier 1 notes (ISIN XS0172565482) and EUR320 million Tier 1 notes (ISIN XS0468954523) are rated Ca(hyb), consistent with Moody's view of a very high probability that the instruments will suffer losses as part of any potential transactions on outstanding instruments announced by the SNS REAAL group, or in the event that the Dutch state would provide direct support for the bank and/or the European Commission imposes burden sharing measures.

The downgrade of SNS REAAL's Capital Securities to Ca(hyb) from Caa2(hyb) reflects the similar action taken on SNS Bank's hybrid debt ratings. This also reflects Moody's expectation of minimal differentiation between the treatment of the bank's hybrid debts and those issued by the holding company.

The downgrade of the ratings on the hybrid debts issued by SRLEV to B1(hyb) from Ba1(hyb) reflects the increasing risk that these hybrids may be included in any burden sharing scenario. Nonetheless, Moody's continues to view the risk on these securities as lower than the risk on the hybrids issued by SNS Bank or by SNS REAAL. The ratings are on review with direction uncertain, reflecting the uncertainties around the future role of the insurance operations within the SNS REAAL group. A potential decision by SNS REAAL to divest the insurance operations may limit or reduce the risks for SRLEV's hybrid bondholders. On the downside, a decision to retain these operations could potentially lead to a downgrade of SRLEV's hybrid debt ratings. The failure of SNS REAAL to conclude a restructuring plan involving private investors may also expose these securities to higher losses through a higher risk of burden sharing.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

--- SNS BANK

SNS Bank's standalone credit assessment may benefit from the finalization of a restructuring plan, provided that Moody's considers that the measures would effectively (1) restore the capital of the various group entities and/or immunise the group against future losses in SNS Bank's legacy Property Finance portfolio, (2) dissipate the uncertainty on the future of the group and reduce risks of a potential shift in depositor confidence, and (3) does not result in the imposition of material restrictions from the European Commission.

Should Moody's conclude that the restructuring plan to be announced does not fully address the challenges facing the bank, and therefore do not fully mitigate the risk of further rounds of support, the agency will assess whether it would be appropriate to move the bank's debt and deposit ratings into speculative grade.

--- INSURANCE ENTITIES

According to Moody's, the IFSRs of the insurance companies could potentially be further downgraded if the companies' operations remain within the SNS REAAL group. However, the IFSRs might also be downgraded if SNS REAAL decides to sell these operations, but Moody's believes that the sale process would not be executed in a reasonable short period. In particular, the IFSRs could be downgraded if Moody's believes that the insurance operations are likely to be damaged, via a depletion of their capital or through increased risk taken on their balance sheet, as part of a restructuring plan. In these scenarios, the ultimate IFSRs of the insurance operations would become more closely linked to SNS Bank's standalone credit assessment, leading to a potential multi-notch downgrade. Conversely, the ratings could be confirmed if the group expedites a rapid divestment of its insurance operations.

--- HOLDING COMPANY

The rating agency says that a downgrade of the bank's long-term ratings or of the insurance entities' IFSRs would likely result in a downgrade of the holding company's senior debt rating. SNS REAAL's senior debt rating would also be downgraded if Moody's concludes that the likelihood of imposition of burden sharing to holding company senior creditors increases.

--- SUBORDINATED AND HYBRID DEBT INSTRUMENTS

The ratings on SNS Bank and SNS REAAL's dated subordinated debts could be upgraded if the SNS REAAL group implements a restructuring plan involving private investors which would limit the risks of state intervention and the risks of distressed exchanges for such instruments. Conversely, the ratings could be downgraded if Moody's were to consider that the risk of distressed exchanges has increased, notably if the group fails to reach an agreement with private investors and needs to resort to the Dutch state for support.

A downgrade of SRLEV's IFSR would lead to a downgrade of hybrid debt instruments issued by this entity. Moreover, the hybrid debt ratings of SRLEV could be downgraded if Moody's believes that the probability of a coupon deferral or other types of burden sharing has increased for those instruments.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

The following ratings were downgraded and placed on review direction uncertain:

- SNS Bank N.V. -- dated subordinated debt rating to Caa3 from Caa2;

- SNS Bank N.V. -- dated subordinate MTN rating to (P)Caa3 from (P)Caa2;

- SRLEV N.V. -- dated subordinated debt rating to B1(hyb) from Ba1(hyb);

- SRLEV N.V. -- perpetual junior subordinated debt rating to B1(hyb) from Ba1(hyb);

- SNS REAAL N.V. -- subordinated debt rating to Caa3 from Caa1;

- SNS REAAL N.V. -- subordinated MTN rating to (P)Caa3 from (P)Caa1.

The following ratings were downgraded and maintained on review for further downgrade:

- SNS Bank N.V. -- senior unsecured debt rating and long term bank deposit rating to Baa3 from Baa2;

- SNS Bank N.V. -- short-term bank deposit rating and other short-term ratings to Prime-3 from Prime-2;

- SRLEV N.V. -- insurance financial strength rating to Baa2 from Baa1;

- REAAL Schadeverzekeringen N.V. -- insurance financial strength rating to Baa2 from Baa1;

- SNS REAAL N.V. -- senior unsecured debt rating to Ba2 from Baa3;

- SNS REAAL N.V. -- senior unsecured MTN rating to (P)Ba2 from (P)Baa3;

The following ratings were downgraded and no outlook was assigned:

- SNS Bank N.V. -- bank financial strength rating to E (mapping to ca) from E+ (mapping to b3);

- SNS Bank N.V. -- EUR200 million Tier 1 securities (ISIN XS0172565482) rating to Ca(hyb) from Caa3(hyb);

- SNS REAAL N.V. -- Tier 1 securities rating to Ca(hyb) from Caa2(hyb);

- SNS REAAL N.V. -- short term rating to (P)Not-Prime from (P)P-3.

The following rating was confirmed with no outlook:

- SNS Bank N.V. -- EUR320 million Tier 1 securities (ISIN XS0468954523) rating, at Ca(hyb).

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGIES

The principal methodology used in rating SNS Bank N.V. 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.

The principal methodologies used in rating SNS Reaal NV, REAAL Schadeverzekeringen NV and SRLEV NV were Moody's Global Rating Methodology for Property and Casualty Insurers Published in May 2010, Moody's Global Rating Methodology for Life Insurers published in May 2010, and Moody's Guidelines for Rating Insurance Hybrid Securities and Subordinated Debt Published in January 2010. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of these methodologies.

List of affected Issuers by Releasing Office France:

Releasing Office:

Moody's France SAS

96 Boulevard Haussmann

75008 Paris

France

Issuer : SNS Reaal N.V.

Issuer :SRLEV NV

Issuer: REAAL Schadeverzekeringen NV

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain 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 certain 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 certain 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.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

The person who approved SNS Bank N.V. credit ratings is Carola Schuler, MD - Banking, Financial Institutions Group, JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456, SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

The person who approved SNS Reaal NV, REAAL Schadeverzekeringen NV and SRLEV NV credit ratings is Simon Harris, MD - Financial Institutions, Group, Financial Institutions Group, JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456, SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

The below contact information is provided for information purposes only. Please see the ratings tab of the issuer page at www.moodys.com, for each of the ratings covered, Moody's disclosures on the lead analyst and the Moody's legal entity that has issued the ratings.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Stephane Herndl
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's France SAS
96 Boulevard Haussmann
Paris 75008
France
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Carola Schuler
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
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 SNS REAAL entities and debt ratings
No Related Data.
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