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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades Unicredit MedioCredito Centrale to A2

27 Jul 2010

Milan, July 27, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded the long-term deposit ratings of UniCredit MedioCredito Centrale (UMCC) to A2 from A1, and confirmed UMCC's C- bank financial strength rating (BFSR), which Moody's has remapped to a lower Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) of Baa2 from Baa1. The outlook on all ratings is stable.

This rating action concludes the review for possible downgrade initiated on 29 March 2010, which followed UMCC's announcement that its public-sector-related financing role was being significantly downsized. The Bank of Italy has now approved this reorganisation.

According to Moody's, UMCC's revised BCA of Baa2 reflects more precisely UMCC's more limited franchise following the reorganisation, its intrinsically higher revenue volatility from its reliance on future commission-revenue streams, and its potentially weaker profitability. UMCC's profitability will be also challenged by its ability to streamline costs, given the need for a smaller and more flexible structure.

Effective from 1 September 2010, UMCC's project and infrastructure financing activities and medium-term corporate lending will be spun off to UniCredit Corporate Banking SpA (UCCB). Thereafter, UMCC will focus on the provision of government subsidised funding schemes, a small segment of its wider public-sector business for which UMCC has a strong and long-established position.

After the reorganisation, EUR5.95 billion of assets and EUR5.36 billion of liabilities will be allocated to UCCB, resulting in a reduction of around 85% in UMCC's total assets. Its export finance loans -- which will be in run-off following the reorganisation -- will account for the vast majority of its about EUR750 million total loans remaining in 2010, and the remainder will be loans linked to public subsidies. After September 2010, UMCC's total shareholder equity will total EUR135 million (at approximately 12.6% of total assets), and the resulting Tier1 ratio will be much higher than the 15.3% reported at the end of 2009, given the lower risk-weighting of the remaining assets. Moody's expects that UMCC's very strong capital adequacy will provide a significant cushion relative to the challenges that UMCC will be face, and it is an important factor underpinning the revised BCA of Baa2. "If capitalisation was significantly reduced in the future, this could have negative rating implications", says Simone Zampa, a Milan-based Moody's Vice President -- Senior Analyst, and lead analyst for this issuer.

The rating agency also commented that the UMCC's likely smaller returns are to be viewed in conjunction with the lower risk profile of the business going forward, which to date shows almost zero problem loans in export finance and loans linked to public subsidies. In addition, following the reorganisation, UMCC's expected good liquidity profile provides additional comfort on UMCC's standalone credit strengths.

Moody's acknowledges that UniCredit's 100% ownership of UMCC and the significant ongoing support UniCredit provides to UMCC's operations and restructuring process are important factors that underpin Moody's view of the current Baa2 BCA. In addition, UMCC's long-term deposit ratings of A2 incorporate Moody's expectation of very high extraordinary support from UniCredit in case of need, even following this reorganisation, thus resulting in a three-notch uplift from its revised BCA of Baa2. The rating agency notes that any reduction in UniCredit's ownership of UMCC could negatively impact both UMCC's BCA and its deposit ratings.

Moody's most recent rating action on UMCC was on 29 March 2010, when UMCC's long-term deposit ratings and BFSR were placed on review for possible downgrade.

The principal methodology used in rating this issuer was Moody's "Bank Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology", published in February 2007 and "Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology", published in March 2007, which are both 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 Rome, Italy, UMCC had total assets of EUR7 billion as of 31 December 2009.

Milan
Simone Zampa
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
Telephone:+39-02-9148-1100

Milan
Henry MacNevin
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
Telephone:+39-02-9148-1100

Moody's downgrades Unicredit MedioCredito Centrale to A2
No Related Data.
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