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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades WestLB CBB (Ireland) to Aa1 based on EAA support

05 May 2010

Prime-1 ST affirmed; BSFR withdrawn

Frankfurt, May 05, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has today upgraded the senior unsecured debt and deposit ratings of Dublin-based WestLB Covered Bond Bank plc (WestLB CBB) to Aa1 from A2 and changed the outlook on this rating to stable from ratings under review. This is in response to the transfer of 100% of the capital of WestLB CBB from WestLB (rated A3 negative/Prime-1/E+ stable) to Erste Abwicklungsanstalt ("EAA"; rated Aa1 stable/Prime-1), which is the wind-down vehicle of WestLB, managed by the Financial Market Stabilisation Fund (SoFFin). Today's rating action concludes the review for possible downgrade of this rating that Moody's initiated on 8 December 2009.

The E+ bank financial strength rating (BFSR) of WestLB CBB, which used to be aligned and therefore moved in tandem with the BFSR of WestLB, will be withdrawn. The Prime-1 short-term rating was affirmed.

UPGRADE OF LT DEBT RATING REFLECTS ALIGNMENT WITH RATINGS OF ERSTE ABWICKLUNGSANSTALT (EAA)

The upgrade of WestLB CBB's senior unsecured debt and deposit ratings to Aa1 is based on the following developments and documentation: (i) the change of ownership through the transfer of WestLB's 100% stake in the bank to EAA, which took effect on 30 April 2010; and (ii) the replacement of the existing blanket guarantee from WestLB by a guaranty from EAA, which makes the public sector entity irrevocably and unconditionally the principal obligor of all of WestLB CBB's obligations. The transaction makes WestLB CBB a wholly-owned subsidiary of the public sector vehicle EAA, which in turn is supported by WestLB's current public sector owners, in particular by the state of North-Rhine Westphalia (rated Aa1).

EAA was established in December 2009 to act as a wind-down unit for part of WestLB AG, with the aim of consolidating the bank's balance sheet and providing capital relief. EAA took over a portfolio of EUR40 billion in assets from WestLB AG, of which EUR6 billion was transferred in December 2009 and the remainder on 30 April 2010. The stake in WestLB CBB was transferred because its operations were considered "non-core" by WestLB. For further details on EAA, please refer to Moody's latest Credit Opinion on the entity published on 11 February 2010, as well as subsequent press releases.

REVIEW CONCLUDED AND RATING WITHDRAWN DUE TO LIMITED VALUE OF STANDALONE ANALYSIS

On 8 December 2009, Moody's had placed the fully supported long-term ratings of WestLB CBB on review for possible downgrade in response to the initiation of a rating review for possible downgrade of WestLB's long-term debt ratings. As the Irish bank has in the meantime ceased to be a subsidiary of WestLB, and since WestLB has been relieved from its obligations under the blanket guaranty, the conclusion of the rating review on WestLB CBB with its upgrade to Aa1 follows developments that were unforeseen at the time and, more importantly, very favourable for bond holders.

Moody's had previously aligned the bank's BFSR with that of WestLB AG, based on its high degree of integration into WestLB and its limited strategic and financial autonomy. As a subsidiary of EAA, the bank can be considered a gone concern in so far as its business will be managed in a way that allows for assets and liabilities to run off in an orderly fashion. However, Moody's is not ruling out that an investor can be found at a later stage to take over the Irish operations and revive the business. As and when that happens, Moody's will consider assessing the bank anew and assigning a bank financial strength rating based on a stand-alone analysis. However, in the absence of such developments and based on the above-mentioned blanket guaranty, a stand-alone assessment will not be performed.

SUMMARY OF RATINGS AND RATING ACTIONS:

- Rating for senior unsecured debt and deposits: Aa1, stable outlook

- Prime-1 short-term rating: affirmed

- E+ BFSR (B2 BCA): withdrawn

RATING HISTORY AND MOODY'S METHODOLOGIES

The previous rating action on WestLB CBB was implemented on 8 December 2009, Moody's had placed the A2 senior unsecured debt and deposit ratings on review for possible downgrade and changed the outlook on its E+ BFSR to developing from negative.

The principal methodologies used in rating WestLB CBB were "Moody's Bank Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology", published in February 2007, and "Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's Bank Ratings", published in March 2007, which are available on www.moodys.com in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory under the Research & Ratings tab. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating this issuer can also be found in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory on Moody's website.

Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, WestLB CBB reported total assets of EUR12 billion as of the end of December 2008 and reported a net profit of EUR131 million for the 12-month period.

Frankfurt
Katharina Barten
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Frankfurt
Carola Schuler
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's upgrades WestLB CBB (Ireland) to Aa1 based on EAA support
No Related Data.
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