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Rating Action:

Moody's takes rating actions on subsidiaries of two Russian financial institutions

04 Jul 2014

Actions follow confirmation of parents' supported ratings

London, 04 July 2014 -- Moody's Investors Service has today taken rating actions on the supported senior unsecured debt and deposit ratings of six subsidiaries of two Russian Financial Institutions: Bank VTB, JSC (Baa2 negative, standalone bank financial strength rating (BFSR) D-/baseline credit assessment (BCA) ba3) and Vnesheconombank (Baa1 negative). These rating actions follow Moody's confirmation of the debt, deposit and issuer ratings of the respective Russian parents on 2 July 2014. For additional information, please refer to the related announcement: https://www.moodys.com/research/PR_303035

Specifically, Moody's confirmed the supported senior unsecured and deposit ratings of the five international and domestic subsidiaries of VTB group and one domestic subsidiary of Vnesheconombank. The subsidiary banks' affected ratings benefit from the uplift that Moody's derives from its assessment of parental support assumptions.

The rating actions conclude the review of these ratings initiated by Moody's in April 2014.

For a full list of affected ratings, please refer to the end of this press release.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The confirmation of the parental debt, deposit and issuer ratings has prompted the confirmation of the subsidiaries' supported ratings, which incorporate Moody's parental support assumptions. Moody's continues to view parental support assumptions as unchanged, given the on-going demonstrated willingness of these banks to provide assistance to their domestic and international subsidiaries in the context of on-going volatility.

--- VTB Group's subsidiaries

The supported ratings of VTB group's domestic and international subsidiaries incorporate Moody's view of the very high likelihood of support from the parent (Baa2 negative), which in turn benefits from systemic support uplift. Moody's believes that systemic support from the Russian government (directly or indirectly through VTB) will benefit the group's subsidiaries given (1) the government's majority ownership of VTB group; and (2) the strong track record of this support being extended to the group and its subsidiaries from the Russian government and the Central Bank of Russia (CBR).

- VTB Bank (Austria) AG

Moody's confirmed VTB Bank (Austria) AG's (VTBA) long-term deposit ratings at Baa3 with a negative outlook. Its standalone BFSR of D-, corresponding to a BCA of ba3 was affirmed, and the outlook changed to negative.

The negative outlook on the supported rating reflects the same outlook on the support provider's rating.

The negative outlook on the standalone BFSR of VTBA reflects pressure on its financial fundamentals and its weaker growth prospects. Credit pressures on VTBA reflect the overall pressure on the profitability and asset quality experienced by the wider group. Similar to the wider group VTBA is dominated by corporate finance activities, with high concentrations and a partially shared customer base with the parent.

VTBA's capitalisation with a Tier 1 ratio of 7.6% as at end-2013 has remained modest for the past three years, although its total capital ratio has been supported by the parent with additional subordinated debt injections. At the same time, Moody's notes that the granularity of VTBA's funding base has improved with retail customer deposits forming a sizeable portion of liabilities (c. 20%). These deposits provide the bank with an independent and granular source of funding compared to parent related corporate customers.

- VTB Bank (Deutschland) AG

Moody's confirmed VTB Bank (Deutschland) AG's Ba1 long-term deposit ratings, with a stable outlook. Its standalone BFSR of D- (BCA of ba3) was affirmed, and the outlook changed to negative.

The stable outlook on the supported long-term Ba1 rating is because at its current level, it would be resilient to a one-notch downgrade of the group's Baa2 long-term rating. As the ultimate parent, VTB group is expected to provide support to VTB Deutschland in case of need, although it could be channeled via the bank's direct parent VTB Austria, which also consolidates its accounts.

Similar to its direct parent, the negative outlook on the standalone BFSR reflects pressures experienced by the wider group in terms of profitability, asset quality and constrained growth trends. The short-term nature of its funding base principally driven by money market and bank deposits adds to a credit pressure in the current turbulent operating environment. At the same time Moody's notes that the bank's capitalisation remains above the level of other VTB subsidiaries and the bank's efficiency and pre-provision profitability remained stable for the past three years.

- VTB Capital Plc

Moody's confirmed VTB Capital plc's supported long-term ratings at Baa3 with a negative outlook. Its BFSR of D- (BCA of ba3) was affirmed, and the outlook changed to negative. The negative outlook on the supported rating reflects the same outlook on the support provider's rating.

The negative outlook on the standalone BFSR reflects deterioration in VTB Capital plc's profitability indicators and cost-income ratio. Increased operating expenses and provisioning charges prompted a sharp decline in the bank's post-provision profitability in 2013 and it is unlikely to recover significantly given the turbulent current environment in capital markets and limited growth prospects of Russian corporates in the near future. Its business profile remains cyclical, but its location in London, UK represents an important franchise value factor for the group's commercial and investment banking activities. At the same time, Moody's notes that the bank's capital position has remained stable for the past three years and VTB group provides a sizeable funding line to VTB Capital plc, which could significantly mitigate any funding and liquidity risks.

- VTB24

Moody's confirmed VTB24's long-term deposit ratings at Baa2 with a negative outlook. Its standalone BFSR of D- (BCA of ba3), was affirmed with a stable outlook.

The negative outlook on the supported rating reflects the same outlook on the support provider's rating.

In contrast to VTB group's other entities, the stable outlook on the standalone BFSR reflects VTB24's stronger profitability and granular loan profile compared with the rest of the group, driven by its retail franchise. VTB24 is also fully funded by growing and granular customer deposits and its net interest margin remains the highest in the VTB group. Compared with VTB's other subsidiaries, Moody's considers that VTB24, given its ability to generate high post-provision profitability, would be able to withstand expected deterioration in the asset quality at the current ba3 BCA level. At the same time Moody's notes that any significant deterioration in the group's financial fundamentals is likely to affect the franchise and growth prospects of VTB24 and could lead to a close realignment of its standalone assessment with that of the parent.

- Bank of Moscow

Moody's confirmed Bank of Moscow's (BoM) Ba1 long-term deposit ratings with a stable outlook. The stable outlook on the ratings reflects Moody's view that at the current Ba1 level, BoM would not be sensitive to a one-notch downgrade of Bank VTB. Moody's acknowledges the ongoing progress in terms of BoM's integration with the group and the recently announced plans to merge BoM into Bank VTB after 2017. Moreover, over the next 12 months, Moody's expects that BoM will be able to exit from financial rehabilitation, which should further support BoM's credit profile.

The bank's BFSR of E+ (stable) which maps to a BCA of b2 is not affected by this rating action. At the same time Moody's notes that the bank's standalone assessment can be positively influenced by BOM's exit from the financial rehabilitation programme, combined with sustainable improvements in asset quality and profitability.

--- SME Bank - subsidiary of Vnesheconombank

The deposit and debt ratings of SME bank at Baa2 incorporate Moody's view of the very high likelihood of support from its parent, Vnesheconombank, which in turn benefits from systemic support uplift. Moody's believes that such systemic support from the Russian government (directly or indirectly through Vnesheconombank) will benefit SME Bank given that (1) SME Bank is a fully-owned subsidiary of Vnesheconombank; (2) it is a major government conduit used to support the country's small and medium-sized enterprises; and (3) there is a track record of such support being extended to SME Bank from the Russian government and Vnesheconombank.

Therefore, Moody's has confirmed the ratings of SME Bank with a negative outlook and left the support uplift unchanged, given the similar rating action on Vnesheconombank's supported ratings.

- SME Bank's BFSR

Moody's has affirmed SME Bank's BFSR at E+ (equivalent to a BCA of b1). The outlook on the BFSR is stable. The affirmation reflects the bank's historically robust capital position and low-risk asset composition. As at year-end 2013, SME Bank reported a Tier 1 ratio of 18.5% and total capital adequacy ratio of 24.5% under Basel I. Most of the bank's assets represent exposures to large Russian banks, originated to facilitate development within Russia's SME sector. However, high single-name concentrations in lending assets and high reliance on wholesale funding sources constrain SME Bank's ratings. These negative credit drivers are partially offset by the adequate credit profiles of the bank's largest credit exposures and, given SME Bank's role in the sector, the high likelihood of refinancing from the Bank of Russia and Vnesheconombank, the largest providers of wholesale funds to SME Bank.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

Moody's considers that upward pressure the on long-term ratings of these subsidiaries is unlikely in the near term given the negative outlook on the rating of their parents The supported ratings of subsidiaries would be negatively affected if the ratings of their respective parents were downgraded.

The subsidiaries' standalone credit profiles could come under pressure in case of further deterioration in their financial fundamentals and risk-absorption capacity, given the challenging operating environment, as indicated by the negative outlooks on most of these banks' BFSRs.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

Issuer: Bank of Moscow

....Long-term Deposit Rating, Confirmed at Ba1 STA

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Confirmed at Ba1 STA

....Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Confirmed at (P)Ba1

....Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture, Confirmed at Ba3 STA

....Outlook, Stable

Issuer: Kuznetski Capital S.A.

....Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture, Confirmed at Ba3 STA

....Outlook, Stable

Issuer: SME Bank

.... Bank Financial Strength Rating, Affirmed E+ STA

.... Baseline Credit Assessment, Maintained at b1

.... Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, raised to baa2 from b1

.... Long-term Deposit Ratings, Confirmed at Baa2 NEG

.... Short-term Deposit Rating, Confirmed at P-2

.... Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Confirmed at Baa2 NEG

....Outlook, Negative(m)

Issuer: VTB Bank (Austria) AG

.... Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Maintained at baa3

.... Baseline Credit Assessment, Maintained at ba3

.... Bank Financial Strength Rating, Affirmed D- NEG

.... Long-term Deposit Ratings, Confirmed at Baa3 NEG

.... Short-term Deposit Ratings, Confirmed at P-3

....Outlook, Negative

Issuer: VTB Bank (Deutschland) AG

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Maintained at ba1

....Baseline Credit Assessment, Maintained at ba3

....Bank Financial Strength Rating, Affirmed D- NEG

....Long-term Deposit Ratings, Confirmed at Ba1 STA

....Short-term Deposit Ratings, Affirmed NP

....Outlook, Stable(m)

Issuer: VTB Capital plc

.... Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Maintained at baa3

.... Baseline Credit Assessment, Maintained at ba3

.... Bank Financial Strength Rating, Affirmed D- NEG

.... Long-term Deposit Ratings, Confirmed at Baa3 NEG

.... Short-term Deposit Ratings, Confirmed at P-3

....Outlook, Negative

Issuer: VTB24

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Maintained at baa2

....Baseline Credit Assessment, Maintained at ba3

....Bank Financial Strength Rating, Affirmed D- STA

....Long-term Deposit Ratings, Confirmed at Baa2 NEG

....Short-term Deposit Ratings, Confirmed at P-2

....Senior Secured Regular Bond/Debenture, Confirmed at Baa2 NEG

....Outlook, Negative(m)

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Global Banks published in May 2013. 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 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 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 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 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.

The below contact information is provided for information purposes only. Please see the ratings tab of the issuer page at www.moodys.com, for each of the ratings covered, Moody's disclosures on the lead analyst and the Moody's legal entity that has issued the ratings

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.

Irakli Pipia
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

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

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's takes rating actions on subsidiaries of two Russian financial institutions
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