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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades Raiffeisen Bank International's long-term ratings and withdraws ratings of Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich

21 Mar 2017

Baseline credit assessment upgraded to ba2, reflecting sustained improvements in RBI's credit fundamentals

Frankfurt am Main, March 21, 2017 -- Moody's Investors Service (Moody's) today upgraded Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI)'s long-term debt and deposit ratings to Baa1 from Baa2. At the same time, the rating agency upgraded RBI's baseline credit assessment (BCA) to ba2 from ba3, its adjusted BCA to ba1 from ba2, and its long-term counterparty risk assessment to Baa1(cr) from Baa2(cr). The outlook on the long-term debt and deposit ratings changed to stable from positive.

Today's rating action follows the merger between Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich AG (RZB), so far the lead institution of Austria's biggest cooperative group, and its Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) focused subsidiary RBI, which took effect on 18 March 2017. Upon the merger, RBI will assume RZB's assets and liabilities, while RZB is legally dissolved. The rating upgrade is supported by the continued strengthening of RBI's credit fundamentals, whilst the stable outlook reflects Moody's expectation that the bank will be able to sustain its more solid financial metrics going forward.

As part of today's rating action, Moody's upgraded RBI's subordinated debt ratings to Ba1 from Ba2, and certain preferred stock ratings issued by finance vehicles to B1(hyb) from B2(hyb). Those instruments are backed and assumed by RBI. The bank's short-term ratings were affirmed at P-2 as well as its short-term P-2(cr) counterparty risk assessment.

In addition, Moody's upgraded RZB's long-term debt to Baa1 from Baa2, and changed the outlook to stable from positive, as well as its subordinated debt ratings to Ba1 from Ba2.

Moody's will withdraw RZB's Baa2(cr)/P-2(cr) long- and short-term counterparty risk assessment and its Baa2 long-term issuer and deposit ratings. Further, the rating agency will withdraw RZB's short-term deposit ratings at P-2.

Please refer to the Moody's Investors Service's Policy for Withdrawal of Credit Ratings, available on its website, www.moodys.com.

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

RATINGS RATIONALE

UPGRADE OF RBI'S RATINGS

The upgrade of RBI's long-term deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings to Baa1 reflects: (1) the upgrade of the bank's BCA to ba2 from ba3; (2) the upgrade of its adjusted BCA to ba1 from ba2, incorporating the rating agency's "high" affiliate support assumption from Austria's Raiffeisen Banking Group (RBG, unrated) from "moderate" previously; (3) the unchanged results of Moody's Advanced LGF analysis; and (4) the agency's unchanged assumptions of a low probability of government support from the Austrian government (Aa1, stable), which leads to no additional rating uplift for RBI's long-term ratings.

The upgrade of RBI's standalone BCA to ba2 primarily reflects the bank's improved asset quality and capitalization. Based on pro-forma financials, i.e. including the merger effects with RZB, RBI's problem loans as a percentage of gross loans have improved to 8.7% at end-2016 from 11.1% in 2015. The disposal of problem loans, the ongoing economic recovery in many CEE countries, as well as the bank's successful de-risking of its balance sheet were key drivers for the improvement. Similarly, RBI's pro-forma fully-loaded common equity tier 1 (CET1) capital ratio improved to 12.4% at end-2016 from 10.5% at end-2015, mainly reflecting the bank's organic improvements during 2016, including the continued reduction in risk-weighted assets. The improving trend in RBI's capitalization was further supported by higher pro-forma pre-tax profits which increased to EUR946 million in 2016 from EUR777 million in 2015, benefiting from lower credit costs. In addition, the transfer of domestic banking activities from RZB will help to diversify RBI's credit profile by increasing the share of less cyclical and lower risky assets.

The upgrade of RBI's adjusted BCA to ba1 follows the upgrade of its standalone BCA and also takes into account the rating agency's affiliate support assumption from Austria's Raiffeisen Banking Group (RBG, unrated), which was raised to "high" from "moderate" previously. Moody's assumption of a stronger cohesion within the co-operative group reflects that RBI will become a direct member of the banking group's institutional protection scheme (IPS). However, Moody's continues to believe that RBG's financial capacity to provide support to RBI, in case of need, remains limited.

The upgrade of RBI's long-term senior ratings by one notch to Baa1 follows the one-notch upgrade of its BCA. Under Moody's Advanced LGF analysis, RBI's Baa1 long-term deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings take into account an extremely low loss-given-failure, reflecting the bank's ample amounts of subordinated debt instruments which provide protection for these higher ranking liabilities. This analysis leads Moody's to incorporate three notches of uplift from RBI's ba1 adjusted BCA. Moody's Advanced LGF analysis takes into account the severity of loss faced by the different liability classes in resolution.

RATIONALE FOR THE STABLE OUTLOOK

The stable outlook on RBI's long-term debt and deposit ratings reflects Moody's expectation that the bank will be able to sustain its improved credit profile. This should result in a further stabilisation of the banks' financial fundamentals over the next 12-18 months, despite continued pressures from the persistent low interest-rate environment on the bank's earnings.

WITHDRAWAL OF RZB'S RATINGS

Moody's will withdraw RZB's long-term Baa2 issuer and deposits ratings, its short-term P-2 deposit ratings, as well as its long-and short-term Baa2(cr)/P-2(cr) CR Assessments, because RZB ceased to exist as legal entity with effect from 18 March 2017. Those senior unsecured debt and subordinated debt instruments, which were previously issued by RZB and are now assumed by RBI, have been upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2, and to Ba1 from Ba2.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING UP/DOWN

RBI's long-term ratings could be upgraded following (1) the upgrade of the bank's BCA; and/or (2) an increase in our affiliate support assumption from Austria's RBG.

Upward pressure on RBI's BCA could be triggered by (1) a further meaningful improvement in the bank's asset quality; (2) a further strengthening of its capitalisation; and (3) a material improvement in the bank's profitability without an increase in its risk profile.

RBI's long-term ratings could be downgraded following (1) a downgrade of the bank's BCA; (2) a reduction of Moody's affiliate support assumption from Austria's RBG; and/or (3) a significant decrease in RBI's bail-inable debt cushion, leading to fewer notches of rating uplift under Moody's Advanced LGF analysis.

Downward pressure on RBI's BCA could be triggered by (1) a material set-back in the bank's effort to contain asset risks; (2) substantial additional credit charges beyond those currently expected; (3) an extended period of declining earnings and internal capital generation; and/or (4) a decline in capitalisation and regulatory capital buffers.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

Upgrades:

Issuer: Raiffeisen Bank International AG

- LT Bank Deposits to Baa1 from Baa2, Outlook change to Stable from Positive

- LT Senior Unsecured to Baa1 from Baa2, Outlook changed to Stable from Positive

- LT Senior Unsecured (MTN) to (P)Baa1 from (P)Baa2

- Subordinate to Ba1 from Ba2

- Subordinate (MTN) to (P)Ba1 from (P)Ba2

- Baseline Credit Assessment to ba2 from ba3

- Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment to ba1 from ba2

- LT Counterparty Risk Assessment to Baa1(cr) from Baa2(cr)

Issuer: Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich AG

- BACKED Subordinate to Ba1 from Ba2 (debts assumed by RBI)

- BACKED Senior Subordinate to Ba1 from Ba2 (debts assumed by RBI)

- BACKED Senior Unsecured to Baa1 from Baa2, Outlook changed to Stable from Positive (debts assumed by RBI)

Issuer: RZB Finance (Jersey) III Limited

- BACKED Pref. Stock Non-cumulative to B1(hyb) from B2(hyb) (debt assumed by RBI)

Issuer: RZB Finance (Jersey) IV Limited

- BACKED Pref. Stock Non-cumulative to B1(hyb) from B2(hyb) (debt assumed by RBI)

Affirmations

Issuer: Raiffeisen Bank International AG

- ST Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed, P-2(cr)

- ST Deposits, Affirmed, P-2

- ST Deposit Note / CD Program, Affirmed, P-2

- ST Commercial Paper, Affirmed, P-2

- Other Short Term Debt, Affirmed, (P)P-2

Withdrawals:

Issuer: Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich AG

- LT Issuer Rating, Withdrawn, previously rated Baa2, Positive

- LT Deposits, Withdrawn, previously rated Baa2, Positive

- LT Counterparty Risk Assessment, Withdrawn, previously rated Baa2(cr)

- ST Counterparty Risk Assessment, Withdrawn, previously rated P-2(cr)

- ST Bank Deposits, Withdrawn, previously rated P-2

Outlook Actions:

Issuer: Raiffeisen Bank International AG

- Outlook, Changed to Stable from Positive

Issuer: Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich AG

- Outlook, Changed to No Outlook from Positive

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

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

Swen Metzler
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
An der Welle 5
Frankfurt am Main 60322
Germany
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

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

Releasing Office:
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
An der Welle 5
Frankfurt am Main 60322
Germany
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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