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Rating Action:

Moody's takes ratings actions on 32 banks in Africa following update to country ceilings methodology

10 Dec 2020

Limassol, December 10, 2020 -- Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has today taken various ratings actions on some ratings of 32 banks across 10 African countries: Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda.

The rating actions are driven by changes in the local currency (LC) and foreign currency (FC) country ceilings applied to the jurisdictions of the banks following the publication of Moody's updated Country Ceilings Methodology on 7 December 2020. This methodology is available at this link: https://www.moodys.com/research/--PBC_1225594.

As a result of the methodology change, FC ceilings for FC deposits were raised in 9 African countries (Angola, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda), resulting in upgrades of FC deposits of 31 banks in these jurisdictions.

At the same time, FC ceilings applicable to debt obligations were lowered in 3 African countries (Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria), resulting in downgrades of FC counterparty risk ratings of 6 banks in these jurisdictions.

Today's rating actions cover: (1) Banco Angolano de Investimentos, S.A., (2) Banco de Fomento Angola, S.A., (3) Banque Commerciale du Congo S.A., (4) Bank of Alexandria SAE, (5) Banque du Caire SAE, (6) Banque Misr SAE, (7) Commercial International Bank (Egypt) SAE, (8) National Bank of Egypt SAE, (9) GCB Bank Limited, (10) Co-operative Bank of Kenya Limited, (11) Equity Bank (Kenya) Limited, (12) KCB Bank Kenya Limited, (13) Attijariwafa bank, (14) Bank of Africa - BMCE Group, (15) Credit du Maroc, (16) Groupe Banque Centrale Populaire, (17) Access Bank Plc, (18) FCMB (First City Monument Bank) Limited, (19) Fidelity Bank plc, (20) First Bank of Nigeria Limited, (21) Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, (22) Sterling Bank Plc, (23) Union Bank of Nigeria plc, (24) United Bank for Africa Plc, (25) Zenith Bank Plc, (26) CRDB Bank Plc, (27) NMB Bank PLC, (28) Amen Bank, (29) Arab Tunisian Bank, (30) Banque de Tunisie, (31) Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie and (32) Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited.

Please click on this link https://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBC_ARFTL436961 for the List of Affected Credit Ratings. This list is an integral part of this Press Release and identifies each affected issuer.

RATINGS RATIONALE

Today's rating actions on 32 banks in Africa are driven by changes in country ceilings under Moody's updated country ceilings methodology. Country ceilings typically indicate the highest rating level that would generally be assigned to the financially strongest obligations of issuers domiciled in a country, absent exceptional considerations such as external support from outside the country.

The updated ceilings methodology has unified deposit ceilings with the typically higher debt ceilings, whereby LC and FC country ceilings are no longer distinguished between deposit and debt ceilings. These changes reflect Moody's view that the risks that affect access to bank deposits are not materially different from those that affect the ability of banks and non-banks to service their debt obligations.

NATIONAL SCALE RATINGS (NSRs)

As a result of the upgrade in the FC long-term deposit ratings of 13 banks in Morocco and Nigeria, Moody's also upgraded the FC NSR long-term deposit ratings of those 13 banks.

At the same time, Moody's also upgraded the FC NSR short-term deposit ratings of 9 Nigerian banks and downgraded the FC NSR counterparty risk ratings of 3 Nigerian banks.

OUTLOOK

The outlooks on deposit and/or senior debt ratings for 27 of the 32 banks affected by today's rating actions remain unchanged.

At the same time, Moody's has assigned a stable outlook to foreign currency long-term deposit ratings of 5 Egyptian banks: Bank of Alexandria SAE, Banque du Caire SAE, Banque Misr SAE, Commercial International Bank (Egypt) SAE and National Bank of Egypt SAE.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE OR DOWNGRADE OF THE RATINGS

Angola

An upgrade of Angola's sovereign rating and improvements of banks standalone credit profiles could put upward pressure on banks' ratings.

Any deterioration in the Angolan banking macro profile and/or in the creditworthiness of Angola government will likely result in downgrades of banks' ratings. A deterioration in the banks' standalone profiles beyond what is captured in the current ratings could also lead to downgrades.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Upwards pressure on the ratings of Banque Commerciale du Congo could result from an improvement in asset quality or capitalisation, or an improvement in DRC's operating environment.

Downwards pressure on the ratings of Banque Commerciale du Congo could result from a significant deterioration in asset quality or a material weakening in funding and liquidity.

Egypt

Egyptian banks' ratings could be upgraded if there is a further strengthening of the operating and macroeconomic environment, accompanied by an upgrade of Egypt's sovereign rating and combined with banks' resilient financial performance.

Downward pressure on Egyptian banks' ratings would develop following a downgrade of the sovereign rating, reflecting the high interlinks between the banks' credit profile and that of the government. Downward pressure on banks' BCA could also develop from a greater-than-expected deterioration in asset quality, or a decline in the banks' capital, profitability and foreign currency liquidity buffers.

Ghana

Any upward rating pressure on GCB Bank's ratings is limited given the negative outlook. The bank's outlook could change back to stable if the sovereign rating outlook is changed back to stable and if the bank's financial metrics remain commensurate to similarly rated global peers.

GCB Bank's ratings could be downgraded if the sovereign rating is downgraded, given the sizable holding of sovereign debt securities, or if Ghana's operating environment weakens or if the bank's financial metrics weaken materially, beyond the thresholds assumed by the current rating level.

Kenya

Any upward rating pressure on the Kenyan banks' ratings is limited given the negative outlook. The banks' outlook could change back to stable if the sovereign rating outlook is changed back to stable and if Moody's assesses that the Kenyan operating environment has not significantly deteriorated and if the banks' financial metrics remain at least commensurate to similarly rated global peers.

Kenyan banks' ratings could be downgraded if the sovereign rating is downgraded, given the banks' sizeable holdings of sovereign debt securities, or if Moody's expects Kenya's operating environment to weaken or if the banks' financial metrics weaken materially, beyond the thresholds assumed by the current rating level.

Morocco

Upwards pressure on the long-term ratings of Moroccan banks is limited given their positioning at the same level as the sovereign rating. Upwards pressure on their BCAs could develop through improved asset quality and capitalisation, and/or a material improvement in the operating environment of the various Sub-Saharan jurisdictions in which the Moroccan banks with cross-border operations operate.

Downwards pressure on the ratings of Moroccan banks could develop from a deterioration in the sovereign's credit profile, or a weakening in the banks' asset quality and capitalisation.

Nigeria

Upward rating momentum for Nigerian banks ratings is limited, given the negative outlook. However, a change in the sovereign rating outlook could lead to stabilisation of the banks' outlook if they maintain resilient financial performance.

A downgrade of Nigeria's sovereign rating would exert downward pressure on banks' ratings given the interlinkages. In addition, any deterioration in banks' financial profiles beyond what is captured in their current ratings could lead to downgrades.

Tanzania

Upwards pressure on the long-term ratings and BCAs of Tanzanian banks is limited given their positioning at the same level as the sovereign rating. A higher sovereign rating could lead to upwards pressure on the banks' ratings.

Downwards pressure on the ratings of Tanzanian banks could develop from a deterioration in the sovereign's credit profile, a weakening in the banks' asset quality and capitalisation, and/or a significant decline in liquidity.

Tunisia

Upward pressure on banks' ratings is limited as indicated by the negative outlook. However, the outlook on the ratings would likely be stabilised if Tunisia's sovereign rating outlook is changed to stable from negative. This could also be conditioned by a material improvement in the banks' asset quality, a reduction in provisioning requirements, an increase in loss-absorptions buffers and a material/sustained reduction in reliance on central bank funding.

Conversely, since all five Tunisian banks benefit from government support uplift from their respective BCAs, downward pressure on banks' ratings would develop following a downgrade of the sovereign rating signaling a reduction in the government's capacity to extend financial support to banks in case of need. Downward pressure on the BCAs of some banks could also develop from a greater-than-expected deterioration in operating conditions from the coronavirus spread weakening their asset quality, profitability, capital adequacy and/or liquidity.

Uganda

An upgrade of the bank's ratings could be triggered by improvements in its financial profile.

Stanbic Uganda's ratings could be downgraded in the event of a downgrade of Uganda's ratings. Any significant deterioration in Stanbic Uganda's financial performance could negatively impact the bank's standalone credit profile and deposit ratings. The ratings could also be downgraded if we assess that SBG's willingness to provide support is lower than our current assumptions.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks Methodology published in November 2019 and available at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1147865. Alternatively, please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

Moody's National Scale Credit Ratings (NSRs) are intended as relative measures of creditworthiness among debt issues and issuers within a country, enabling market participants to better differentiate relative risks. NSRs differ from Moody's global scale credit ratings in that they are not globally comparable with the full universe of Moody's rated entities, but only with NSRs for other rated debt issues and issuers within the same country. NSRs are designated by a ".nn" country modifier signifying the relevant country, as in ".za" for South Africa. For further information on Moody's approach to national scale credit ratings, please refer to Moody's Credit rating Methodology published in May 2016 entitled "Mapping National Scale Ratings from Global Scale Ratings". While NSRs have no inherent absolute meaning in terms of default risk or expected loss, a historical probability of default consistent with a given NSR can be inferred from the GSR to which it maps back at that particular point in time. For information on the historical default rates associated with different global scale rating categories over different investment horizons, please see https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1216309.

The local market analyst for Banque Commerciale Du Congo S.A., Attijariwafa bank, Groupe Banque Centrale Populaire, Bank of Africa - BMCE Group, Credit du Maroc, Union Bank of Nigeria plc and Access Bank Plc ratings is Mik Kabeya, +971 (423) 795-90. The local market analyst for Banque de Tunisie, Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie, Amen Bank and Arab Tunisian Bank ratings is Badis Shubailat, +971 (423) 795-05.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

The List of Affected Credit Ratings announced here are a mix of solicited and unsolicited credit ratings. Additionally, the List of Affected Credit Ratings includes additional disclosures that vary with regard to some of the ratings. Please click on this link https://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBC_ARFTL436961 for the List of Affected Credit Ratings. This list is an integral part of this Press Release and provides, for each of the credit ratings covered, Moody's disclosures on the following items:

• Endorsement

• Rating Solicitation

• Issuer Participation

• Participation: Access to Management

• Participation: Access to Internal Documents

• Disclosure to Rated Entity

• Lead Analyst

• Releasing Office

For further specification of Moody's key rating assumptions and sensitivity analysis, see the sections Methodology Assumptions and Sensitivity to Assumptions in the disclosure form. Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions can be found at: https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_79004.

For ratings issued on a program, series, category/class of debt or security this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series, category/class of debt, security 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.

Moody's general principles for assessing environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks in our credit analysis can be found at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1133569.

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 rating analyst and the Moody's legal entity that has issued the ratings.

The person who approved Banco de Fomento Angola, S.A., Banque Commerciale Du Congo S.A., Bank of Alexandria SAE, Banque Misr SAE, Banque du Caire SAE, Commercial International Bank (Egypt) SAE, National Bank of Egypt SAE, GCB Bank Limited, Co-operative Bank of Kenya Limited, Equity Bank (Kenya) Limited, KCB Bank Kenya Limited, Attijariwafa bank, Groupe Banque Centrale Populaire, Bank of Africa - BMCE Group, Credit du Maroc, Zenith Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, FCMB (First City Monument Bank) Limited, Access Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank plc, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, CRDB Bank Plc, NMB Bank PLC, Banque de Tunisie, Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie, Amen Bank, Arab Tunisian Bank, Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited credit ratings is Sean Marion, MD-Financial Institutions, Financial Institutions Group, JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456, Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454. The person who approved Banco Angolano de Investimentos, S.A., Union Bank of Nigeria plc, Sterling Bank Plc credit ratings is Antonello Aquino, Associate Managing Director, Financial Institutions Group, JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456, Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454.

The relevant office for each credit rating is identified in "Debt/deal box" on the Ratings tab in the Debt/Deal List section of each issuer/entity page of the website.

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.

Constantinos Kypreos
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Cyprus Ltd.
Porto Bello Building
1, Siafi Street, 3042 Limassol
PO Box 53205
Limassol CY 3301
Cyprus
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Antonello Aquino
Associate Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Cyprus Ltd.
Porto Bello Building
1, Siafi Street, 3042 Limassol
PO Box 53205
Limassol CY 3301
Cyprus
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
© 2021 Moody’s Corporation, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., Moody’s Analytics, Inc. and/or their licensors and affiliates (collectively, “MOODY’S”). All rights reserved.

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