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Announcement:

Moody's extends review for downgrade on HSH Nordbank's Baa2/P-2 ratings

30 Apr 2013

Frankfurt am Main, April 30, 2013 -- Moody's Investors Service said today that it is extending its review of HSH Nordbank AG's (HSH) long and short-term debt and deposit ratings of Baa2 and Prime-2, respectively.

HSH's majority owners, the German federal states of Hamburg and Schleswig Holstein (both unrated), recently announced their intention to reinstate their EUR10 billion second-loss guarantee benefitting the bank's troubled and high risk-asset weighted portfolios. The extension of the review reflects the remaining uncertainty as the reinstatement is subject to (1) approval of both federal states' parliaments for the necessary increase in the guarantee amount; and (2) preliminary approval by the European Commission (EC) which is expected by end of June. A final EC approval is expected by 2014 only.

Moody's plans to conclude the review once HSH has preliminary approval from the EC together with votes by both parliaments. As a result Moody's expects to conclude the review within the next three months.

The exact terms of the reinstatement of the second-loss guarantee, as well as additional compensation measures that the EC could impose, will be critical considerations for the long term positioning of the bank's ratings. Given the continued commitment and direct risk exposure of HSH's majority owners Moody's currently expects to lower the bank's long-term debt ratings by no more than one notch. Moody's therefore expects that HSH will maintain an investment-grade rating.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The extended review for downgrade of HSH's Baa2/Prime-2 long and short-term debt and deposit ratings will focus on the size and terms of the expected capital measures as well as the involvement of the EC in an assessment of such measures as (repeated) state aid and potential further conditions set by the EC.

The bank's majority owners recently announced their intention to provide renewed support in the form of a reinstatement of their second-loss guarantee to the bank and Moody's expects that the owners will make a formal notification to the EC in that respect subject to parliamentary approval in the coming weeks. The owner's announcement outlined that the second-loss guarantee which currently amounts to EUR7 billion will be re-instated to its original amount of EUR10 billion. The owners further explained that they agreed with the EC a process which will allow for a preliminary approval of the reinstatement by end of June. Once granted, this will allow the bank to further pursue its restructuring plan until the final approval is obtained which is not expected to be forthcoming before 2014. The higher guarantee will enable HSH to strengthen its core Tier 1 capital ratio back to levels more commensurate with the bank's risk profile. The decision of the governments to increase the guarantee is still subject to approval by the parliaments of both federal states.

While the reinstatement of the guarantee indicates Hamburg's and Schleswig-Holstein's continuing support of HSH, Moody's expects the reinstatement of the guarantee to prompt the EC to review the terms and conditions of the capital measures, which may result in additional compensation requirements. A downgrade of HSH's long and short-term debt and deposit ratings may be triggered if the capital measures are not sufficient to stabilise the bank's credit profile, and/or if the EC imposes further constraints that impair the bank's franchise. These constraints may only become available once the final approval is obtained in 2014.

The degree of uplift that Moody's factors into HSH's fully supported ratings from the caa2 baseline credit assessment (BCA) will continue to take into account HSH's high systemic relevance, as well as (1) the majority stakes held by its public-sector owners; (2) the past support measures that continue to be available to HSH; and (3) the legacy liability of the federal states for substantial amounts of grandfathered debt. It also accounts for HSH's membership in the public-sector banks' cross-sector support mechanism.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

An upgrade of HSH's E BFSR would require a demonstrated, sustainable stabilisation of HSH's capitalisation and franchise, and a fundamental recovery of its profitability.

Given the very high support assumptions factored into HSH's debt and deposit ratings, a gradual improvement of the standalone BFSR would not lead to an upgrade of those ratings.

Downwards pressure on HSH's caa2 BCA could develop (1) in the unlikely event that the bank fails to put in place sufficient capital measures to stabilise its credit profile, which may then result in an administered run-down of the bank's asset base; (2) upon renewed capital erosion after the recently announced support measures; (3) due to a further weakening of the bank's fragile franchise; and/or (4) upon signs of a weakening funding structure or weakening access to debt capital markets.

Pressure on HSH's debt and deposit ratings could develop if (1) the anticipated measures were not sufficient to stabilise the bank's credit profile; and/or (2) further constraints imposed by the EC impair HSH's future viability; and/or (3) a change in ownership occurs, in particular if it resulted in HSH losing its membership in the public-sector banks' cross-sector support mechanism.

The principal methodology used in these ratings/analysis 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.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

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.

Please see Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions on the Rating Process page on www.moodys.com for further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history. The date on which some ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

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.

Mathias Kuelpmann
Senior Vice President
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

Moody's extends review for downgrade on HSH Nordbank's Baa2/P-2 ratings
No Related Data.
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