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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades VW Financial Services' long-term debt ratings to A2 from A1 and upgrades VW Bank's debt ratings to Aa3 from A1

04 Aug 2016

Outlook remains negative for long-term debt and for VW Bank's deposit ratings

Frankfurt am Main, August 04, 2016 -- Moody's Investors Service today downgraded to A2 from A1 the long-term debt ratings of Volkswagen Financial Services AG (VW FS AG) and of its guaranteed subsidiaries. At the same time, the rating agency upgraded the long-term debt rating of Volkswagen Bank GmbH (VW Bank) to Aa3 from A1.

As part of today's rating action, Moody's affirmed the Aa3 long-term deposit ratings of VW Bank. The rating outlooks for VW FS AG's long-term debt and for VW Bank's long-term debt and deposits remain negative, reflecting the negative ratings outlook on Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft's (Volkswagen, long-term issuer rating A3 negative).

The Prime-1 short-term debt ratings of VW FS AG and its guaranteed subsidiaries, and VW Bank's Prime-1 short-term debt and deposit ratings were affirmed. Moody's also affirmed VW FS AG's and VW Bank's Aa3(cr)/Prime-1(cr) Counterparty Risk (CR) Assessments, and VW Bank's Baa1 subordinated debt ratings, baa2 baseline credit assessment (BCA) and a3 adjusted BCA.

For a list of all affected ratings, please refer to the end of this press release.

RATINGS RATIONALE

DOWNGRADE OF VW FINANCIAL SERVICES' LONG-TERM DEBT RATINGS AND UPGRADE OF VW BANK'S LONG-TERM DEBT RATING REFLECT CHANGES IN LOSS-GIVEN-FAILURE

The downgrade to A2 from A1 of the long-term debt ratings of VW FS AG and its guaranteed subsidiaries reflects the rating agency's view that senior unsecured creditors of VW FS AG and of guaranteed subsidiaries will face higher losses in the unlikely event of failure than Moody's had previously anticipated. At the same time, the upgrade of VW Bank's long-term debt ratings reflects Moody's view that these instruments will face only extremely low losses upon a failure of the bank.

The resulting different rating levels for senior unsecured obligations at both institutions reflects Moody's revised expectations concerning the practical execution of resolution measures upon failure. Previously, the rating agency assumed that VW FS AG, its issuance vehicle Volkswagen Financial Services N.V. (VW FS NV) and the domestic parts of VW Bank as well as Volkswagen Leasing GmbH (VW Leasing) were to form part of a joint domestic resolution perimeter with equal ranking of their outstanding senior unsecured debts, which at the time of the introduction of Moody's Advanced Loss Given Failure (LGF) Analysis were immaterial in the case of VW FS AG.

Today's rating actions reflect Moody's decisions: 1) to incorporate the recent quarters' changes in the group's overall funding profile; 2) to place stronger emphasis on the subordination of VW FS AG's senior unsecured creditors to VW Bank's senior unsecured creditors and 3) to exclude VW Leasing from VW FS AG's resolution perimeter.

Since the introduction of the Advanced LGF Analysis last year, the liability structure within the VW FS AG resolution perimeter has changed significantly, illustrated by the shift towards more deposit and asset-backed securities funding and limited senior unsecured issuance activity since the start of Volkswagen's diesel crisis in September 2015. An additional aspect considered in today's rating actions is that VW Leasing, which is a non-bank under the definition of the EU Capital Requirements Regulation, would in Moody's view not become subject to bank resolution proceedings, which suggests an exclusion from the group's resolution perimeter.

AFFIRMATION OF VW BANK'S DEPOSIT RATINGS REFLECTS UNCHANGED LOSS-GIVEN-FAILURE

The loss-given-failure of VW Bank's deposits remains extremely low and unaffected by the changed assumptions applied at the level of senior unsecured debt. As a result, the bank's deposits continue to benefit from three notches of rating uplift above VW Bank's a3 Adjusted BCA, leading to today's affirmation of VW Bank's Aa3 deposit ratings.

The bank's a3 Adjusted BCA was also affirmed, reflecting the affirmation of VW Bank's baa2 BCA and the unchanged two notches of affiliate support. Moody's expects both VW FS AG and VW Bank to benefit from "affiliate backing", the highest degree of affiliate support, which leads to an alignment of VW Bank's adjusted BCA with Volkswagen's A3 long-term issuer rating.

AFFIRMATION OF VW BANK'S BCA REFLECTS GROWTH OF BALANCE SHEET, NON-MARKET FUNDING AND VOLKSWAGEN-SUBSIDISED REVENUES

Moody's affirmation of the baa2 BCA of VW Bank is based on the overall neutral effect of first half 2016 financial and business developments on the entity's financial profile. The bank's pronounced shift in its funding profile, particularly a significant increase in the weight of deposit funding within its funding mix, has reduced its dependence on currently less readily available market funding and underscored the entity's flexibility to tap alternative funding channels.

At the same time, VW Bank experienced continued growth of its securities portfolio, which in Moody's view is driven by the bank's retention of asset-backed security tranches sponsored by different subsidiaries of VW FS AG. Overall asset growth outpaced the bank's growth in capital, which led to a decline in VW Bank's regulatory common equity tier 1 ratio to 10.5% from 11.1% as of December 2015, despite offsetting measures taken by the parent in the form of a €480 million equity injection in the first six months of 2016.

The BCA affirmation further reflects that VW Bank continues to benefit from above average profitability. Since the diesel issue arose, the bank's even more relevant role as a provider of lending and service packages for Volkswagen's new car sales has supported the bank's unabated retail lending growth. At the same time, Moody's expects the importance of contracts that benefit from below-market terms subsidised by the carmaker to have grown and to remain an important contributor to the bank's growth and earnings under Volkswagen's strategy 2025.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

Due to the intrinsic interlinkages of VW FS AG and VW Bank with their automotive parent, their ratings are highly dependent on the creditworthiness of Volkswagen, whose ratings have a negative outlook.

As a result, a downgrade of Volkswagen would result in a similar rating action on VW Bank's adjusted BCA, which could, in turn, likely lead to a downgrade of both the bank's and VW FS AG's long-term debt ratings. At the same time, a BCA upgrade or downgrade for VW Bank will, in the absence of changes to Volkswagen's ratings and/or support probability, not lead to changes in the bank's long-term ratings.

In the absence of a rating change for Volkswagen, VW Bank's and VW FS AG's long-term ratings may still be downgraded if Moody's LGF analysis results in a higher loss-given-failure for individual debt classes than Moody's currently anticipates. Such higher loss severities may result from a continued reduction in senior debt volumes outstanding.

Similarly, an upgrade of VW FS AG's and its guaranteed subsidiaries' long-term debt ratings may result from an increase in senior or subordinated debt volumes beyond Moody's current expectations, leading to lower loss-given-failure.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

The following ratings were downgraded:

..Issuer: Volkswagen Financial Services AG

....Senior Unsecured rating to A2 from A1; outlook remains negative

....Senior Unsecured MTN rating to (P)A2 from (P)A1

..Issuer: Volkswagen Leasing GmbH

....Backed Senior Unsecured rating to A2 from A1; outlook remains negative

....Backed Senior Unsecured MTN rating to (P)A2 from (P)A1

..Issuer: Volkswagen Financial Services Australia Ltd

....Backed Senior Unsecured rating to A2 from A1; outlook remains negative

....Backed Senior Unsecured MTN ratings to (P)A2 from (P)A1

..Issuer: Volkswagen Financial Services Japan Ltd.

....Backed Senior Unsecured rating to A2 from A1; outlook remains negative

....Backed Senior Unsecured MTN rating to (P)A2 from (P)A1

..Issuer: Volkswagen Financial Services N.V.

....Backed Senior Unsecured ratings to A2 from A1; outlook remains negative

....Backed Senior Unsecured MTN rating to (P)A2 from (P)A1

The following ratings were upgraded:

..Issuer: Volkswagen Bank GmbH

....Senior Unsecured rating to Aa3 from A1; outlook remains negative

....Senior Unsecured MTN rating to (P)Aa3 from (P)A1

The following ratings were affirmed:

..Issuer: Volkswagen Financial Services AG

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment at Aa3(cr)

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Assessment at P-1(cr)

....Short-term Commercial Paper rating at P-1

..Issuer: Volkswagen Bank GmbH

....Adjusted baseline credit assessment at a3

....Baseline credit assessment at baa2

....Long-Term Deposit ratings at Aa3, outlook remains negative

....Short-term deposit ratings at Prime-1

....Short-term Commercial Paper rating at Prime-1

....Other Short-term rating at (P)Prime-1

....Subordinate Debt rating at Baa1

....Subordinate MTN rating at (P)Baa1

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment at Aa3(cr)

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Assessment at P-1(cr)

..Issuer: Volkswagen Leasing GmbH

....Backed Other Short-term rating at (P)Prime-1

..Issuer: Volkswagen Financial Services Australia Ltd

....Backed Other Short-term rating at (P)Prime-1

..Issuer: Volkswagen Financial Services Japan Ltd.

....Backed Commercial Paper rating at Prime-1

....Backed Other Short-term rating at (P)Prime-1

..Issuer: Volkswagen Financial Services N.V.

....Backed Commercial Paper rating at Prime-1

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in January 2016. Please see the Ratings Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

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 credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit 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 credit rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this credit 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.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

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.

Bernhard Held
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
An der Welle 5
Frankfurt am Main 60322
Germany
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 Deutschland GmbH
An der Welle 5
Frankfurt am Main 60322
Germany
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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