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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades selected SNS REAAL NV and SNS Bank securities

08 Sep 2009

Paris, September 08, 2009 -- Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded the EUR350 million 6.258% capital securities issued by SNS REAAL N.V. to Ba1 from Baa3. Moody's also downgraded the EUR39 million 7.625% perpetual subordinated notes issued by SNS Bank, SNS REAAL group's banking operations, to Baa3 from A3. All these ratings have been placed on review for possible further downgrade.

The Baa1 rating on SNS Bank's EUR200 million 5.75% capital securities has been affirmed.

The other ratings of SNS REAAL (Baa1 senior debt, stable outlook), SNS Bank N.V. (C bank financial strength rating (BFSR), A2 long-term senior debt and deposit ratings, stable outlook) and REAAL Verzekeringen (A2 financial strength ratings for the main operating companies, negative outlook) are not affected by this rating action.

The rating action reflects Moody's assumption of a low to moderate probability of coupon deferral on the downgraded securities listed above as a result of the ongoing discussion between SNS REAAL, the Dutch Ministry of Finance and the European Commission (EC) on the state aid package and follows Moody's press release entitled "Moody's sees broader impact on hybrid ratings triggered by EC's state aid reviews", published on 19 August 2009.

The review for possible further downgrade reflects the prospect of potential further downgrades in the event of the actual longer-term suspension of coupons.

Moody's understands that SNS REAAL is currently discussing its viability plan with the Dutch Ministry of Finance and the EC, following the issuance of EUR750 million of capital securities to the Dutch state in November 2008. Moody's believes that there is an increased risk that SNS REAAL and SNS Bank may be advised to skip optional coupons on its hybrids given that - notwithstanding a significant improvement in the group's performance - SNS REAAL group reported EUR 23million losses for the first half year 2009 and given the EC's scrutiny on coupons of hybrid securities and dividends being paid out of profits.

Perhaps mitigating some of that risk, Moody's notes that the state aid received by SNS REAAL is less comprehensive than the aid received by some of its competitors, and SNS REAAL's main shareholder also contributed to the recapitalisation plan launched by the group in November last year. In addition, for all the securities issued by SNS REAAL and SNS Bank with optional deferral provision, the coupon payments are cumulative (at least during five years for securities issued by SNS REAAL), hence limiting the loss severity of a coupon deferral if this were to materialise.

The affirmation of the Baa1 rating assigned to SNS Bank's EUR200 million 5.75% capital securities is underpinned by the low likelihood that the mandatory trigger attached to these securities will be breached. Moody's, therefore, views the deferral of the coupon payment on these securities as unlikely.

Moody's adds that it released a Request for Comment entitled, "Moody's Proposed Changes to Bank Subordinated Capital Ratings", dated June 2009, via which it has requested market feedback on potential changes to its bank hybrid rating methodology. Should Moody's implement this revised methodology as proposed, the ratings of SNS REAAL and SNS Bank's hybrid debts could potentially be impacted. Moody's cautions that the rating of some of these hybrid debts could even be downgraded by multiple notches.

The following ratings have been downgraded and placed on review for possible further downgrade:

- SNS REAAL EUR350 million 6.258% capital securities (XS0310904155) -- preferred stock rating to Ba1 from Baa3; and

- SNS Bank EUR39 million 7.625% perpetual subordinated notes (XS0112493969) -- junior subordinated rating to Baa3 from A3.

The following rating has been affirmed:

- SNS Bank EUR200 million 5.75% capital securities (XS0172565482) -- preferred stock rated Baa1, outlook stable.

The last rating action on SNS REAAL and SNS Bank was on 15 January 2009 when Moody's downgraded the ratings of both issuers.

The principal methodologies used in rating SNS REAAL and SNS Bank are "Moody's Global Rating Methodology for Property and Casualty Insurers", "Moody's Global Rating Methodology for Life Insurers", "Bank Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology" and "Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology", which can be found at 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 these issuers can also be found in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory.

SNS REAAL is a bancassurance group headquartered in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Focusing on the Dutch market, it reported total income of EUR5.2 billion in 2008 and had shareholders' equity of EUR4.9 billion as of 31 December.

SNS Bank, headquartered in Utrecht, the Netherlands, had total assets of EUR76.7 billion and reported shareholders' equity (including minority interest) of EUR2.4 billion as of 31 December 2008.

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

Paris
Benjamin Serra
Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's France S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's downgrades selected SNS REAAL NV and SNS Bank securities
No Related Data.
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