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Rating Action:

Moody's places BNP Paribas Fortis Ba2(hyb) CASHES rating on review for upgrade

26 Jul 2018

NOTE: On August 7, 2018, the press release was corrected as follows: At the end of the press release, the third contact was removed. Revised release follows.

Paris, July 26, 2018 -- Moody's Investors Service, ("Moody's") has today placed on review for upgrade the Ba2(hyb) junior subordinated debt rating of BNP Paribas Fortis SA/NV (BNP Paribas Fortis; A1/A2 stable, baa1). The outlook on the issuer was changed to Rating under Review from Stable.

Today's action follows Moody's review for upgrade opened on 20 July 2018 on the Baa2 issuer rating of Ageas SA/NV (Ageas) and the Ba2(hyb) rating of Ageasfinlux S.A.'s backed junior subordinated securities ("FRESH"), and reflects the fact that BNP Paribas Fortis' junior subordinated debt are similar in nature to the FRESH. Both securities were issued when BNP Paribas Fortis and Ageasfinlux were part of the now dismantled Fortis group.

All other ratings of BNP Paribas Fortis are unaffected by this rating action.

A list of affected ratings can be found at the end of this press release.

RATINGS RATIONALE

BNP Paribas Fortis' junior subordinated debt rating relates to the Convertible And Subordinated Hybrid Equity-linked Securities (CASHES) issued in 2007 by Fortis Bank SA/NV, (subsequently renamed BNP Paribas Fortis). Moody's rating of CASHES derives from the assessment of Ageas' credit quality as the terms and conditions of the CASHES include a mandatory deferral trigger tied to the dividend payments on Ageas' ordinary shares.

CASHES are perpetual securities, which can only be redeemed via conversion into Ageas common shares under certain conditions. If Ageas does not pay dividends or the dividend yield is below 0.5%, coupons are mandatorily paid with newly issued Ageas common shares, according to an alternative coupon settlement mechanism. However, if Ageas is not in a position to issue new shares, the coupon settlement will be postponed until such issuance is possible. As a result, Moody's rating of these deeply subordinated securities reflects a higher risk of coupon deferral than for other securities.

On 20 July 2018, Moody's placed the ratings of Ageas on review for upgrade, reflecting the decision taken on 13 July 2018 by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal to declare binding the Fortis settlement agreement between Ageas and a few claimant organizations on legacy issues related to the break-up of the Fortis group. Moody's considers this development as a positive milestone, which reduces the uncertainty arising from legal risks and the corresponding financial impact from legacy issues.

However, eligible shareholders have the possibility of opting out of the settlement. As determined by the Court, they have until 31 December 2018 to do so.

According to the terms of the agreement, Ageas reserves the right to terminate the Fortis settlement in the event that the number of opt-out notices goes beyond Ageas' expectations, which Ageas has set at 5% of the settlement amount. Moody's review will focus on the final outcome of the Fortis settlement agreement as well as the potential impact of remaining minor legacy issues. Given the timeline for the opt-out, Moody's anticipates that the conclusion of the review may extend beyond three months.

Ageas' current issuer rating is three notches below the A2 IFSR of AG Insurance, its main operating subsidiary. This is one notch wider than Moody's standard notching practice for holding companies of insurers headquartered and operating in jurisdictions subject to group regulation and reflects the uncertainty of the legal risks and the corresponding financial impact arising from the legacy issues.

More details are provided in the press release announcing the action on Ageas' ratings: https://www.moodys.com/research/--PR_386620.

At the end of 2017, the outstanding amount of CASHES was €821 million, out of which €205 million were included in BNP Paribas Fortis's Tier 1 capital.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

Moody's has placed BNP Paribas Fortis' junior subordinated debt rating on review for upgrade. A downgrade is therefore unlikely. BNP Paribas Fortis' junior subordinated debt rating would likely be upgraded if Ageasfinlux S.A.'s backed junior subordinated debt rating were upgraded. This would happen if (i) the final outcome of the Fortis settlement is substantially in line with the terms of the agreement declared binding by the Court, with no significant opt-outs, and (ii) Ageas does not report a material deterioration in its current level of capital position, liquidity, profitability and financial flexibility.

After the completion of the review, Ageas' ratings would be confirmed at their current levels if the final outcome of the Fortis settlement differed materially from the terms declared binding by the Court due to significant opt-outs, or if Ageas exercised the option of terminating the agreement. A confirmation of Ageas' ratings would result in a confirmation of BNP Paribas Fortis' junior subordinated debt rating.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

Issuer: BNP Paribas Fortis SA/NV

..Placed on Review for Upgrade:

....Junior Subordinated Conv./Exch. Bond/Debenture of Ba2(hyb)

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Rating under Review from Stable

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in this rating was Banks published in July 2018. Please see the Rating 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.

Laurent Le Mouel
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's France SAS
96 Boulevard Haussmann
Paris 75008
France
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Nicholas Hill
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's France SAS
96 Boulevard Haussmann
Paris 75008
France
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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