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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades CaixaBank's long-term deposit and junior senior debt ratings

17 May 2019

Madrid, May 17, 2019 -- Moody's Investors Service has today upgraded the long-term deposit ratings of CaixaBank, S.A. (CaixaBank) to A3 from Baa1 and its junior senior unsecured debt rating to Baa3 from Ba1. At the same time, Moody's has assigned a Baa1 long-term foreign currency issuer rating and affirmed the bank's baseline credit assessment (BCA) and its adjusted BCA at baa3, senior unsecured debt ratings at Baa1, local currency issuer rating at Baa1, subordinated debt at Ba1 and preferred stock Non-cumulative ratings at Ba3(hyb). The outlook on the long-term deposit, issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings remains stable. Short-term deposit and programme ratings were affirmed at Prime-2.

The rating upgrade was prompted by Moody's expectation of additional issuance of loss-absorbing capital in response to regulatory requirements. This issuance will reduce loss severity for senior unsecured and junior senior creditors, as well as junior depositors, according to Moody's advanced Loss Given Failure (LGF) analysis.

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

RATINGS RATIONALE

-- RATIONALE FOR THE AFFIRMATION OF THE STANDALONE CREDIT ASSESSMENT

The affirmation of the bank's BCA and adjusted BCA at baa3 reflects Moody's expectation that the bank's de-risking will continue as well as the sustained recovery of the bank's core revenues and capital. Moody's also expects that the bank will continue to maintain a sound liquidity and funding profile.

CaixaBank's credit profile significantly improved last year following the sale of €12.8 billion of problematic exposures to the private equity firm Lone Star. As a result, the bank's non-performing asset ratio (defined as nonperforming loans (NPLs) and real estate assets as a percentage of gross loans plus real estate assets) stood at 7% at end of 2018 down from 13% a year prior and below the 9% estimated for the system. For 2019, CaixaBank is targeting an NPL ratio below 4% (down from 4.6% at end of March 2019) and below 3% by the end of 2021.

The baa3 also incorporates a sustained recovery of the bank's net income to tangible assets that stood at 0.5% at end of 2018. Moody's notes, however, that such improvement may be challenged on the back of persistently low interest rates, subdued business growth as well as non-recurring restructuring cost and other expenses associated to the bank's transformation of its distribution network. As offsetting factors, Moody's highlights CaixaBank's strict focus on cost control and efficiency gains and a benign credit environment, both in Spain and in Portugal, that should continue to support relatively low provisioning needs.

-- RATIONALE FOR UPGRADING JUNIOR SENIOR DEBT AND LONG-TERM DEPOSIT RATINGS WHILE AFFIRMING ALL OTHER RATINGS

The upgrade of CaixaBank's long-term deposit ratings and of its junior senior debt ratings reflects Moody's expectation that the bank will continue to issue subordinated instruments in order to comply with Minimum Requirement for own funds and Eligible Liabilities (MREL) in line with its 2019-2021 funding plan. According to CaixaBank's relevant fact published on 24 April 2019, MREL requirements for CaixaBank have been set by the Single Resolution Board at 10.6% of its consolidated liabilities and own funds (22.5% of consolidated risk-weighted assets) of its resolution group as of 31 December 2017. CaixaBank needs to comply with this requirement by 1 January 2021.

Moody's expects that CaixaBank will complete its medium-term issuance plan -- which entails the refinancing of its covered bond and senior debt redemptions amounting to approximately EUR7.5 billion, primarily with junior senior instruments -- based upon its public commitment to the plan and the bank's continued good access to the capital markets. In 2019, CaixaBank has already issued junior senior instruments amounting to EUR1 billion out of the EUR7.5 billion and EUR1 billion of senior unsecured instruments.

Given the expected changes in Caixabank's balance sheet, Moody's revised advanced LGF analysis indicates an extremely low loss-given-failure for long-term depositors and a very low loss-given-failure for senior unsecured creditors, leading Moody's to position the ratings three and two notches above the baa3 BCA, respectively. Moody's unchanged assessment of a moderate probability of government support for CaixaBank, results in no additional uplift (from one notch previously) for the senior debt ratings given that CaixaBank's ratings, prior to government support, are now at the same level as the sovereign rating, resulting in the affirmation of the senior debt ratings.

The same LGF analysis for CaixaBank indicates a moderate loss severity for junior senior creditors in the event of the bank's failure, leading the rating agency to upgrade the rating to Baa3, in line with bank's adjusted BCA from Ba1 previously. CaixaBank's junior senior debt ratings do not include additional uplift from government support, reflecting Moody's view that there is a low probability of government support for these instruments given their explicitly loss-absorbing nature.

-- RATIONALE FOR THE STABLE OUTLOOK

The outlook on CaixaBank's long-term debt and deposit ratings is stable, reflecting Moody´s expectation that the bank will be able to maintain a gradual improvement of its credit profile by further reducing its stock of problematic assets and progressively improving its core profitability. The stable outlook also incorporates Moody's expectation that CaixaBank will continue to issue subordinated instruments to meet its MREL requirement .

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING UP

CaixaBank's baa3 BCA could be upgraded as a result of (1) a further significant improvement in its asset-risk indicators, namely a material reduction in its stock of problematic assets; (2) stronger TCE levels; and (3) a sustained recovery in its recurrent profitability levels.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING DOWN

Downward pressure on the bank's BCA could develop as a result of (1) a reversal in its current positive asset-risk trends, with a material increase in its stock of NPLs or other problematic exposures; (2) a weakening of the bank's internal capital-generation and risk absorption capacities as a result of subdued profitability levels; or (3) a deterioration in the bank's liquidity position.

While Moody's continues to believe that the probability of Catalan secession remains low, ongoing political tensions in Catalunya are credit negative, leading to potential volatility in the funding and business activities of CaixaBank.

As the bank's debt and deposit ratings are linked to its standalone BCA, any changes to the BCA would also likely affect these ratings.

CaixaBank's deposit and senior debt ratings could also face downward pressure owing to movements in the loss given failure faced by these securities, in particular, if the bank fails to deliver on its funding plan. The impact on the bank's senior debt ratings will, however, be offset by the incorporation of government support.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

Issuer: CaixaBank, S.A.

..Upgrades:

....Long-term Bank Deposits, upgraded to A3 from Baa1, outlook remains Stable

....Junior Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, upgraded to Baa3 from Ba1

....Junior Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, upgraded to (P)Baa3 from (P)Ba1

..Affirmations:

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Rating, affirmed A3

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Rating, affirmed P-2

....Short-term Bank Deposits, affirmed P-2

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed A3(cr)

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed P-2(cr)

....Long-term Issuer Rating (Local Currency), affirmed Baa1, outlook remains Stable

....Baseline Credit Assessment, affirmed baa3

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, affirmed baa3

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, affirmed Baa1, outlook remains Stable

....Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, affirmed (P)Baa1

....Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture, affirmed Ba1

....Subordinate Medium-Term Note Program, affirmed (P)Ba1

....Preferred Stock Non-cumulative, affirmed Ba3(hyb)

....Commercial Paper, affirmed P-2

....Other Short Term, affirmed (P)P-2

..Assignment:

....Long-term Issuer Rating (Foreign Currency), assigned Baa1, outlook Stable

..Outlook Actions:

....Outlook remains Stable

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in August 2018. Please see the Rating Methodologies 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 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.

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.

Maria Cabanyes
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Espana, S.A.
Calle Principe de Vergara, 131, 6 Planta
Madrid 28002
Spain
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Carola Schuler
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Espana, S.A.
Calle Principe de Vergara, 131, 6 Planta
Madrid 28002
Spain
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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