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Rating Action:

Moody's takes rating actions on four Dubai-based banks

06 Dec 2012

London, 06 December 2012 -- Moody's Investors Service has today taken rating actions on four banks based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The affected banks are Emirates NBD PJSC, Mashreqbank PSC, Commercial Bank of Dubai PCS and Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC.

Moody's rating actions are driven primarily by (i) elevated problem loan levels (NPLs) in the 15%-17% range and (ii) low loan-loss coverage levels which, despite significant improvements in the local Dubai operating environment, remain persistently weaker than regional and global peers with similar standalone credit assessments.

The specific rating changes for each affected bank are as follows:

- Emirates NBD PJSC ("ENDB"): Moody's has downgraded ENDB's long-term ratings, standalone credit assessment and bank financial strength rating (BFSR) by one notch to Baa1/ba2/D from A3/ba1/D+, respectively. ENBD's Prime-2 short-term ratings have been affirmed. Moody's has maintained the negative outlook on all ratings of ENBD to reflect the effect of increases in government-related concentrations and non-commercial restructurings on asset quality, coverage and profitability.

- Mashreqbank PSC ("Mashreq"): Moody's has downgraded Mashreq's long-term ratings and lowered the standalone credit assessment by one notch to Baa2/ba1 from Baa1/baa3, respectively. Mashreq's D+ BFSR and Prime-2 short-term ratings have been affirmed. Moody's has changed the outlook on the long-term deposit rating and the standalone ratings to stable from negative to reflect some stabilising factors, including strong capitalisation and liquidity levels.

- Commercial Bank of Dubai PSC ("CBD"): Moody's has downgraded CBD's long-term ratings and lowered the standalone credit assessment by one notch to Baa1/ba1 from A3/baa3, respectively. CBD's D+ BFSR and Prime-2 short-term ratings have been affirmed. Moody's has changed the outlook on the long-term deposit rating to stable from negative to reflect some stabilising factors, including strong capitalisation and profitability. The outlook on the standalone ratings remains stable.

- Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC ("DIB"): Moody's has placed all ratings of DIB under review for possible downgrade, affecting the long-term ratings, standalone credit assessment and BFSR at Baa1/ba3/D-, respectively. The Prime-2 short-term rating has also been placed under review for downgrade. The review will focus on the upcoming audited financials, to assess the evolution of asset quality, loan-loss coverage and capital-generation metrics relative to interim trends and forward looking expectations.

A full list of ratings is provided at the end of this press release.

BROAD RATINGS RATIONALE

--- ASSET QUALITY PRESSURES PERSIST FOR DUBAI BANKS DESPITE IMPROVING LOCAL OPERATING ENVIRONMENT

Despite an improvement in the overall operating environment in Dubai, especially in the core sectors of trade, retail, tourism and transport, Moody's believes that Dubai-based banks continue to face persistent asset quality pressures, which emerged at the start of the crisis four years ago. Problem loans levels remain elevated in the range of 15%-17% (as of year-end 2011 audited financial statements), which is well above the average of Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) banks at 6.1%.

Moody's expects problem loan levels to remain elevated over the coming quarters, driven by (i) exposures to large, stressed, government-related issuers (GRIs), particularly non-commercial restructurings, and (ii) legacy corporate impairments, primarily real-estate-related, which are still emerging after what Moody's expects have been failed attempts to restructure speculative real-estate financings underwritten earlier in the crisis. Much of this lending was financed on the basis of very optimistic projections of cash flows and capital gains that are unlikely to return in the near term, particularly in the commercial property sector. The delayed recognition of these problem loans is continuing to pressure asset quality of the affected banks, and Moody's believes that a limited reduction in headline NPLs is likely over the near term. While much of the exposure is likely to be collateralised by property, their reduced valuations and a protracted enforcement process limit the upside of any recovery process.

Moody's also notes that some of these banks' reported NPLs do not include significant restructured exposures that other institutions within the banking system still deem as impaired, which may present significant future risks.

--- LOW LOAN-LOSS COVERAGE LEVELS WILL PRESSURE CAPITAL; ADDITIONAL REQUIRED PROVISIONING WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPRESS PROFITABILITY

In conjunction with asset-quality pressures, Moody's believes that all Dubai-based banks continue to have relatively low loan-loss coverage levels in the 30%-45% range (as of YE2011 audited financial statements), compared with the median of global, similarly rated peers in the 72%-96% range. Such uncovered exposures expose the banks to capital pressures in the event that write-offs are needed. Looking ahead, Moody's therefore expects the profitability of the Dubai-based banks to continue to be pressured as a result of the additional provisioning that will be required to cushion these problem loans.

The rating agency notes that Moody's reported NPL and coverage levels may vary from those published in bank financials for the following reasons:

1) Moody's considers all loans that are 90 days past due as impaired

2) Moody's currently considers all large non-commercial restructurings as impaired, which some banks may consider as performing

3) Moody's does not include collateral values in loan-loss coverage metrics

SPECIFIC RATINGS RATIONALE

- EMIRATES NBD PJSC

-- RATIONALE FOR DOWNGRADE

The downgrade of ENDB's long-term ratings, standalone credit assessment and BFSR by one notch to Baa1/ba2/D, from A3/ba1/D+, reflects ENDB's sizable and increasing government-related concentrations that are negatively impacting the bank's asset quality, risk management flexibility and profitability, despite its strong retail franchise, solid liquidity and its position as the largest bank in the UAE. This increasing concentration also weakens the bank's corporate franchise by crowding out other private businesses. Low-yielding government business ultimately weighs negatively on the bank's profitability and hence reduces capital generation capacity.

Problem loan levels were at 15.8% at YE 2011 and 17.8% at Q3 2012 (unaudited). Moody's expects these to remain elevated through to YE2013. Local and global ba2 peers have problem loan levels at 10.6% and 4.7%, respectively.

Loan-loss coverage levels were 37.8% at YE 2011 and 38.7% at Q3 2012 (unaudited). Moody's expects these to remain at approximately these low levels through to YE2013. Local and global ba2 peers have coverage levels of 43.5% and 78.5%, respectively.

Given coverage levels, ENBD's capital position has remained relatively weak with Tier 1 of 13.0% as of YE2011 (based on reported numbers applying a zero risk weight to local government exposures). UAE and global ba2 peers have Tier 1 levels at 15.4% and 11.5%, respectively (it should be noted that most global peers do not have the same concentrated exposures common to most GCC banks).

--SUPPORT ASSUMPTIONS

ENBD's long-term ratings of Baa1 reflect the bank's standalone credit assessment of ba2 and our view of the very high probability of systemic support in the event of a stress situation. This assumption, which generates four-notches rating uplift, is based on: (i) UAE's Aa2 rating; (ii) ENBD's systemic importance, given that it is the largest bank in the UAE; (iii) past evidence of systemic support that has been provided to banks in case of need and (iv) ENBD's 56% ownership by the Government of Dubai.

-- RATIONALE FOR NEGATIVE OUTLOOK

While new central bank regulations on concentration are a long-term credit positive for the UAE banking system, Moody's expects that ENBD will continue to play the role of a strategic financing vehicle for the Government of Dubai and for related entities over the near future, which will continue to impact profitability. This factor, in conjunction with continued concerns regarding the impact of non-commercial restructurings for future asset quality, coverage and profitability metrics, underpin the negative outlook.

-- WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

As indicated by the negative outlook, Moody's does not expect upward pressure on ENBD's ratings over the near term.

The ratings could be downgraded as a result of a combination of (i) increasing problem loan levels, (ii) reduced loan-loss coverage levels and (iii) a weaker capital position.

- MASHREQBANK PSC

-- RATIONALE FOR DOWNGRADE

The downgrade of Mashreq's long-term ratings to Baa2 from Baa1, and the lowering of Mashreq's standalone credit assessment to ba1 from baa3 within the D+ BFSR range, reflects the weak asset quality of its loan portfolio, as reflected by the 16.6% ratio of problem loans to gross loans (NPL) as of YE 2011, up from 12.1% as of YE 2010, which is higher than the average for UAE banks. The weakening of asset quality is primarily due to the large legacy exposure to Dubai-based government-related issuers (GRIs) and de-leveraging of the loan book during the crisis period.

Problem loan levels were at 16.6% at YE 2011, and Moody's expects these to remain elevated through to YE2013. Local and global ba1 peers have problem loan levels at 10.6% and 3.9%, respectively.

Loan-loss coverage levels were 40% at YE 2011 and Moody's expects these to remain low through to YE2013. Local and global ba1 peers have coverage levels of 43.5% and 95.9%, respectively.

-- SUPPORT ASSUMPTIONS

Mashreq's long-term ratings of Baa2 reflect the bank's standalone credit assessment of ba1 and our view of the high probability of systemic support in the event of a stress situation. This assumption, which generates two notches of rating uplift, is based on: (i) UAE's Aa2 rating; (ii) Mashreq's systemic importance in the UAE; and (iii) past evidence of systemic support that has been provided to banks in case of need.

-- RATIONALE FOR STABLE OUTLOOK

The stable outlook takes into account Mashreq's strong capitalisation levels, with a Tier 1 capital ratio under Basel II at 16.2% as of YE 2011 (unaudited end September 2012 at 17%). These ratios are better than the UAE system average of Tier 1 ratio of 15.4% and also higher than the median of similarly rated global peers (12.9%). Mashreq's NPL ratio has also stabilized with September-end 2012 NPL ratio at 15.5%. Mashreq also has a strong liquidity and leverage profile that is supportive of its overall financial strength, including a 33.5% ratio of the bank's liquid assets to total asset ratio (end September 2012 at 26.7%), which is stronger than the UAE system average of 25% as of YE 2011. As another stabilising factor, Moody's also notes that Mashreq's concentration numbers compare favourably with those of most of its UAE peers due to its comparatively larger retail portfolio, which accounts for around 26% of its loan book.

-- WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

As indicated by the stable outlook, Mashreq's ratings do not currently face any significant upward or downward pressure.

The ratings could be upgraded as a result of (i) a significant expansion of the franchise, and (ii) a significant improvement in asset quality and coverage levels, while (iii) maintaining the bank's strong capital and liquidity position.

The ratings could be downgraded as a result of a combination of (i) a further weakening of franchise, (ii) a further deterioration of asset quality or coverage levels, and/or (iii) a weakening of the bank's capital and liquidity position.

- COMMERCIAL BANK OF DUBAI PSC

-- RATIONALE FOR DOWNGRADE

The downgrade of CBD's long-term ratings to Baa1 from A3, and the lowering of CBD's standalone credit assessment to ba1, from baa3 within the D+ BFSR range, reflects the sharp deterioration in the asset quality of its loan portfolio, as reflected by the 16.6% ratio of problem loans to gross loans (NPL) as of YE 2011, up from 8.8% as of YE 2010. Despite the recent decrease of CBD's NPL levels to around 13.2% as of end September 2012 (unaudited), they still remain significantly above the UAE system average. The asset quality pressures are exacerbated by the low coverage levels of 46%, as of end-September 2012.

Problem loan levels were at 16.6% at YE 2011 and Moody's expects these to remain elevated through to YE2013. Local and global ba1 peers have problem loan levels at 10.6% and 3.9%, respectively.

Loan-loss coverage levels were 32.1% at YE 2011 and Moody's expects these to remain at approximately these relatively low levels through to YE2013. Local and global ba1 peers have coverage levels of 43.5% and 95.9%, respectively.

--SUPPORT ASSUMPTIONS

CBD's long-term ratings of Baa1 reflect the bank's ba1 standalone credit assessment and our view of the high probability of systemic support in the event of a stress situation. This assumption, which generates three notches of rating uplift, is based on: (i) UAE's Aa2 rating; (ii) CDB's systemic importance in the UAE; (iii) past evidence of systemic support that has been provided to banks in case of need; and (iv) CBD's 20% ownership by the Government of Dubai.

-- RATIONALE FOR STABLE OUTLOOK

The stable outlook takes into account CBD's modest but well established franchise in the UAE amongst the mid-sized corporates and its strong financial metrics, particularly capitalisation, profitability and efficiency, which act as buffers against further asset quality pressures. Moody's estimates the bank's high Tier 1 capital to be 18.9% as of end-September 2012. The bank's high net interest margin has been stable at around 3.5% since the financial crisis began in 2008.

-- WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

As indicated by the stable outlook, CBD's ratings do not currently face any significant upward or downward pressure.

The ratings could be upgraded as a result of (i) a qualitative expansion of CBD's franchise, (ii) a sustained improvement in asset quality, and (iii) a sustained improvement in coverage metrics.

The ratings could be downgraded as a result of any combination of (i) a further deterioration in asset quality, (ii) lower capitalisation ratios from their current levels, and (iii) a weakening of the bank's franchise.

- DUBAI ISLAMIC BANK PJSC

-- RATIONALE FOR REVIEW FOR DOWNGRADE

Despite significant progress in reducing their real-estate concentration, which still represents 27% of the loan book (versus 40% YE2008), the placing of DIB's ratings on review for downgrade recognises that asset quality remains very weak compared to peers and provisioning coverage levels are low. We expect these drivers to exert pressure on the bank's relatively weak capital base.

The review will focus on the upcoming audited financials, to assess the evolution of asset quality, loan-loss coverage and capital-generation metrics relative to interim trends and future expectations. The review will also assess, as potential mitigating factors, the impact of the bank's strong retail franchise value, which offers a competitive advantage in the form of a stable and low-cost deposit base, and by its favourable liquidity position.

Problem loan levels were at 16.8% at YE 2011 and Moody's expects these to remain elevated through to YE2013. UAE and global ba3 peers have problem loan levels at 10.6% and 6.6%, respectively.

Loan-loss coverage levels were 42.1% at YE 2011 and Moody's expects these to remain low through to YE2013. Local and global ba3 peers have coverage levels of 43.5% and 77.3%, respectively.

DIB's capital position has remained relatively weak with Tier 1 of 13.6% as of YE2011. UAE and global ba3 peers have Tier 1 levels at 15.4% and 11.8%, respectively (it should be noted that most global peers do not have the same concentrated exposures common to most GCC banks).

--SUPPORT ASSUMPTIONS

DIB's long-term ratings of Baa1 reflect the bank's ba3 standalone credit assessment and our view of the very high probability of systemic support in the event of a stress situation. This assumption, which generates five notches of rating uplift, is based on: (i) UAE's Aa2 rating; (ii) DIB's systemic importance in the UAE; (iii) past evidence of systemic support that has been provided to banks in case of need; and (iv) DIB's 34% ownership by the Government of Dubai.

-- WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

As indicated by the review for downgrade, Moody's does not expect upward pressure on the ratings to develop over the near term.

The ratings could be downgraded as a result of a combination of (i) continuing asset quality pressures (ii) reduced loan-loss coverage levels and (iii) a weak capital position to absorb expected losses.

List of Ratings

Downgrades:

..Issuer: Emirates NBD PJSC

.... Bank Financial Strength Rating, Downgraded to D from D+

....Multiple Seniority Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Baa1, (P)Baa2 from (P)A3, (P)Baa1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

....Senior Unsecured Deposit Rating, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

..Issuer: EIB Sukuk Company Ltd.

....Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Baa1 from (P)A3

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

..Issuer: Emirates NBD Global Funding Limited

....Multiple Seniority Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Baa1, (P)Baa2 from (P)A3, (P)Baa1

..Issuer: MashreqBank PSC

....Multiple Seniority Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Baa2, (P)Baa3 from (P)Baa1, (P)Baa2

....Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture, Downgraded to Baa3 from Baa2

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

....Senior Unsecured Deposit Rating, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

..Issuer: Commercial Bank of Dubai PSC

....Senior Unsecured Deposit Rating, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

On Review for Possible Downgrade:

..Issuer: Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC

.... Bank Financial Strength Rating, Placed on Review for Possible Downgrade, currently D-

.... Issuer Rating, Placed on Review for Possible Downgrade, currently Baa1, P-2

..Issuer: DIB Sukuk Limited

....Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Possible Downgrade, currently (P)Baa1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed on Review for Possible Downgrade, currently Baa1

Outlook Actions:

..Issuer: MashreqBank PSC

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Negative

..Issuer: Commercial Bank of Dubai PSC

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Negative(m)

..Issuer: Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Stable

..Issuer: DIB Sukuk Limited

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Stable

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings 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 ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides relevant 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 relevant regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides relevant 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.

The ratings have been disclosed to the rated entities or their designated agent(s) and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

Information sources used to prepare each of the ratings are the following: parties involved in the ratings, public information, and confidential and proprietary Moody's Investors Service information.

Moody's considers the quality of information available on the rated entities, obligations or credits satisfactory for the purposes of issuing these ratings.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning the ratings is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, Moody's is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Moody's Investors Service may have provided Ancillary or Other Permissible Service(s) to the rated entity or its related third parties within the two years preceding the credit rating action. Please see the special report "Ancillary or other permissible services provided to entities rated by MIS's EU credit rating agencies" on the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

In addition to the information provided below please find on the ratings tab of the issuer page at www.moodys.com, for each of the ratings covered, Moody's disclosures on the lead rating analyst and the Moody's legal entity that has issued each of the ratings.

Please see the ratings disclosure page on www.moodys.com for general disclosure on potential conflicts of interests.

Please see the ratings disclosure page on www.moodys.com for information on (A) MCO's major shareholders (above 5%) and for (B) further information regarding certain affiliations that may exist between directors of MCO and rated entities as well as (C) the names of entities that hold ratings from MIS that have also publicly reported to the SEC an ownership interest in MCO of more than 5%. A member of the board of directors of this rated entity may also be a member of the board of directors of a shareholder of Moody's Corporation; however, Moody's has not independently verified this matter.

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.

Khalid Howladar
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Services Limited, Dubai Branch
Gate Precinct 3, Level 3
P.O. Box 506845
DIFC - Dubai
UAE
Telephone: 00971 4237 9536

Yves J Lemay
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
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Moody's takes rating actions on four Dubai-based banks
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Additional terms for Australia only: Any publication into Australia of this document is pursuant to the Australian Financial Services License of MOODY’S affiliate, Moody’s Investors Service Pty Limited ABN 61 003 399 657AFSL 336969 and/or Moody’s Analytics Australia Pty Ltd ABN 94 105 136 972 AFSL 383569 (as applicable). This document is intended to be provided only to “wholesale clients” within the meaning of section 761G of the Corporations Act 2001. By continuing to access this document from within Australia, you represent to MOODY’S that you are, or are accessing the document as a representative of, a “wholesale client” and that neither you nor the entity you represent will directly or indirectly disseminate this document or its contents to “retail clients” within the meaning of section 761G of the Corporations Act 2001. MOODY’S credit rating is an opinion as to the creditworthiness of a debt obligation of the issuer, not on the equity securities of the issuer or any form of security that is available to retail investors.

Additional terms for Japan only: Moody's Japan K.K. (“MJKK”) is a wholly-owned credit rating agency subsidiary of Moody's Group Japan G.K., which is wholly-owned by Moody’s Overseas Holdings Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of MCO. Moody’s SF Japan K.K. (“MSFJ”) is a wholly-owned credit rating agency subsidiary of MJKK. MSFJ is not a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization (“NRSRO”). Therefore, credit ratings assigned by MSFJ are Non-NRSRO Credit Ratings. Non-NRSRO Credit Ratings are assigned by an entity that is not a NRSRO and, consequently, the rated obligation will not qualify for certain types of treatment under U.S. laws. MJKK and MSFJ are credit rating agencies registered with the Japan Financial Services Agency and their registration numbers are FSA Commissioner (Ratings) No. 2 and 3 respectively.

MJKK or MSFJ (as applicable) hereby disclose that most issuers of debt securities (including corporate and municipal bonds, debentures, notes and commercial paper) and preferred stock rated by MJKK or MSFJ (as applicable) have, prior to assignment of any rating, agreed to pay to MJKK or MSFJ (as applicable) for ratings opinions and services rendered by it fees ranging from JPY125,000 to approximately JPY250,000,000.

MJKK and MSFJ also maintain policies and procedures to address Japanese regulatory requirements.

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