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Announcement:

Moody's reviews long-term deposit ratings of BZ WBK for possible upgrade following the announcement of its acquisition by Spain's Banco Santander

14 Sep 2010

London, 14 September 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service today placed on review for possible upgrade Bank Zachodni WBK SA's (BZ WBK) Baa2 long-term bank-deposit ratings following the announcement of its proposed acquisition by Banco Santander (rated Aa2/P-1/B-/Negative). The bank's D+ financial strength rating (BFSR) was affirmed together with its short-term bank-deposit rating of Prime-2.

The proposed acquisition of BZ WBK, which is the polish subsidiary of the Allied Irish Bank (rated A1/P-1/D) by Santander was announced on the 10th of September 2010, and is expected to be cleared with the monopoly competition and the authorities, although the timeframe of this is currently unclear. Moody's said that the decision to place BZ WBK's long-term deposit ratings on review for possible upgrade reflects the fact that the acquisition, if completed, is likely to give further uplift to the Polish bank's long-term ratings given the expectation of parental support from Santander, which is viewed by the rating agency as significantly stronger than AIB, as reflected in its higher rating level. The high probability of systemic support which currently leads to a one notch uplift to BZ WBK's long-term ratings is not expected to change after the merger.

According to the rating agency the review will focus on the likely extent of parental support and the magnitude of the resulting uplift. In affirming BZ WBK's short-term rating at the P-2 level the rating agency noted that the extent of this increased uplift is unlikely to be sufficient to result in a higher short-term deposit rating.

BZ WBK's BFSR was affirmed but remains on negative outlook due a sizeable exposure to commercial real estate, including land financing. However, as the operating environment in Poland stabilises Moody's expects a diminishing likelihood for potential losses from these exposures. The rating agency also noted the new parent's experience in integrating and managing international subsidiaries, and the fact that the Santander group has been present in the Polish market since 2003 mainly as a leading specialised consumer lender, and commented that in time if the acquisition is successfully completed, and BZ WBK is well integrated into the Santander group, that this could have positive implications for the BFSR.

The review is expected to be concluded when the legal side of the merger is finalised, although the potential timescale of this event has not been provided by the bank at this stage.

Last Rating Action

On the 18th of June, 2009 the BFSR was downgraded to D+ (mapping to the BCA of Baa3) with negative outlook from C-. The local and foreign currency deposit ratings were also downgraded to Baa2 with negative outlook from A2 due to combination of the reassessment of the systemic support input and downgrade of the BFSR. The short term rating was downgraded to P-2 from P-1.

Headquartered in Warsaw, Poland, BZ WBK reported total assets of PLN54 billion (EUR13.1 billion) as of 31 December 2009.

The following ratings were affected:

The local and foreign currency deposit ratings of Baa2 were put on review for possible upgrade

The principal methodologies used in rating this issuer are Moody's "Bank Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology", published in February 2007, "Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology", published in March 2007, which are 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 these issuers can also be found in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory on Moody's website.

London
Yves Lemay
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

London
Irakli Pipia
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom

Moody's reviews long-term deposit ratings of BZ WBK for possible upgrade following the announcement of its acquisition by Spain's Banco Santander
No Related Data.
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