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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades Belfius deposit and senior unsecured ratings to A3, from Baa1

12 Jan 2016

Paris, January 12, 2016 -- Moody's Investors Service, ("Moody's") has today upgraded Belfius Bank SA/NV (Belfius)'s long-term deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings, as well as Belfius Financing Company S.A's backed senior unsecured rating, to A3, from Baa1. The agency upgraded the bank's baseline credit assessment (BCA) to baa3, from ba1, which reflects the bank's significant progress in restoring its creditworthiness since the beginning of 2012 when Dexia Bank Belgium was renamed Belfius. Moody's also upgraded Belfius' and Belfius Financing Company S.A's subordinated and junior subordinated debt ratings to Ba1 and Ba2(hyb), from Ba2 and Ba3(hyb), respectively. The bank's counterparty risk (CR) assessment was also upgraded to A2(cr)/Prime-1(cr), from A3(cr)/Prime-2(cr). Other short-term ratings remained unchanged.

Moody's also revised Belgium's Macro Profile upwards to Very Strong, from Very Strong-

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

RATINGS RATIONALE

The upgrade of the bank's BCA to baa3 reflects its improved asset quality, as a result of the downsizing of its legacy assets inherited from the Dexia group, its strong capital base and its strengthened liquidity position, primarily thanks to the near-termination of the funding provided to Dexia group entities, asset disposals and Belfius' ability to attract new deposits. However, Belfius' BCA remains constrained by its modest, although improving, profitability, some high concentrations within its investment portfolio, and the residual legacy portfolio which continues to weigh on the bank's capital and liquidity.

Further supporting the upgrade in Belfius' BCA is its higher macro profile, now Very Strong- (previously Strong+). This reflects in turn the spread of Belfius' exposures to a range of countries, including Belgium, and the change in Moody's assessment of Belgium's Macro Profile itself.

Moody's revision of Belgium's macro profile to Very Strong, from Very Strong-, follows developments in the macroeconomic environment which imply lower risks for the banking system. This reflects our view that (i) the country's structural strengths will ensure its economic resilience over the next several years and (ii) the structural measures taken by the authorities, notably to suspend the automatic wage-indexation and reduce the tax burden on labour, will have a gradual positive impact on competitiveness in the future.

Belfius' A3 long-term deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings reflect (1) the bank's baa3 BCA, (2) the two-notch uplift under our Advanced LGF analysis resulting from the large volume of deposits and senior long-term debt; and (3) government support uplift of one notch, reflecting a moderate support probability from the Belgian government (Aa3, Stable) to a bank which we consider to be systemic.

The outlook on Belfius' long-term deposit and debt ratings is stable, reflecting Moody's view that the currently foreseen risks to creditors, particularly those resulting from legacy assets, high risk concentrations and a modest profitability, are already incorporated in the bank's BCA.

The upgrade of Belfius' subordinated and junior subordinated debt ratings to Ba1 from Ba2 and Ba2(hyb) from Ba3(hyb), respectively, reflects the bank's higher BCA. It also results from the application of the Advanced LGF analysis, which reflects a high level of loss-given-failure, given the small volume of debt and limited protection from more subordinated instruments and residual equity.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING UP/DOWN

Belfius' BCA and, thus, its senior ratings could be upgraded as a result of (1) a reduction in risk concentrations in its investment portfolio without materially affecting the bank's capital base; (2) increased profitability; or (3) further significant improvement in its liquidity position. Belfius' deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings could also be upgraded as a result of a substantial decrease in loss-given-failure, should additional subordinated debt issuance provide greater protection.

Factors that may exert negative pressure on Belfius' standalone credit strength include (1) a deterioration in its liquidity position that may result from difficulties in accessing stable funding; (2) a significant increase in credit losses stemming from the investment portfolio or the loan book; and/or (3) an inability to generate sufficient profit to further strengthen its capital base. Belfius' deposit or senior unsecured debt ratings could also be downgraded as a result of an increase in loss-given-failure, should they account for a significantly smaller share of the bank's overall liability structure, or become more exposed to loss due to reduced subordination.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

Upgrades:

..Issuer: Belfius Bank SA/NV

....Long-Term Deposit Rating, Upgraded to A3 stable from Baa1 positive

....Long-Term Deposit Program, Upgraded to (P)A3 from (P)Baa1

....Senior Subordinate Deposit Program, Upgraded to (P)Ba1 from (P)Ba2

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Upgraded to A3 stable from Baa1 positive

....Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture, Upgraded to Ba1 from Ba2

....Junior Subordinated Regular Bond/Debenture, Upgraded to Ba2 (hyb) from Ba3 (hyb)

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

....Subordinate Medium-Term Note Program, Upgraded to (P)Ba1 from (P)Ba2

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Upgraded to baa3 from ba1

....Baseline Credit Assessment, Upgraded to baa3 from ba1

....Long-Term Counterparty Risk Assessment, Upgraded to A2(cr) from A3(cr)

....Short-Term Counterparty Risk Assessment, Upgraded to P-1(cr) from P-2(cr)

..Issuer: Belfius Financing Company S.A

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Upgraded to A3 stable from Baa1 positive

....Backed Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture, Upgraded to Ba1 from Ba2

....Backed Junior Subordinated Regular Bond/Debenture, Upgraded to Ba2 (hyb) from Ba3 (hyb)

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

....Backed Subordinated Medium-Term Note Program, Upgraded to (P)Ba1 from (P)Ba2

....Backed Junior Subordinated Medium-Term Note Program, Upgraded to (P)Ba2 from (P)Ba3

Outlook Actions:

..Issuer: Belfius Bank SA/NV

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Positive

..Issuer: Belfius Financing Company S.A

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Positive

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in January 2016. 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.

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
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Nicholas Hill
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

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

Moody's upgrades Belfius deposit and senior unsecured ratings to A3, from Baa1
No Related Data.
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