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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades apoBank's long-term debt and deposit ratings to A1, outlook stable

07 May 2014

Frankfurt am Main, May 07, 2014 --

Moody's Investors Service has today upgraded Deutsche Apotheker- und Aerztebank eG's (apoBank) long-term debt and deposit ratings to A1 from A2. The long-term ratings carry a stable outlook. Concurrently, the rating agency upgraded the bank's stand-alone bank financial strength rating (BFSR) to C- from D+, with a stable outlook, which is equivalent to a baseline credit assessment (BCA) of baa2 (previously ba1), and affirmed the bank's Prime-1 short-term rating.

The upgrade of the senior long-term ratings reflects a combination of apoBank's improved financial profile, as reflected in the higher BCA, with the results of our Joint Default Analysis, in turn leading to the removal of one notch of intra-sector support from apoBank's long-term ratings. apoBank's long-term ratings thus benefit from a four notch uplift versus five previously.

Furthermore, Moody's upgraded apoBank's subordinated debt ratings to A3 from Baa1 and its non-cumulative preferred securities, issued by Capital Issuing GmbH to Baa2 (hyb) from Baa3 (hyb) which was prompted by the higher adjusted BCA of a2 (from a3 previously) which incorporates the rating agency's assumptions about intra-sector support.

The outlook on all ratings remains stable, reflecting the stabilised franchise and risk profile, particularly the bank's continued progress in reducing exposure to higher-risk assets and improving the quality and size of its capital ahead of the stricter regulatory requirements under Basel III .

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

RATINGS RATIONALE

--- IMPROVED BFSR REFLECTS APOBANK'S STRENGTHENED FINANCIAL PROFILE AND FLEXIBILITY

Moody's says that the upgrade of apoBank's stand-alone BFSR reflects the bank's continued reduction of higher-risk legacy assets and strongly improved capital ratios at a pace beyond the rating agency's previous expectations. apoBank's essentially completed divestment of non-core legacy risk portfolios has materially reduced asset quality-related vulnerabilities. In parallel, apoBank continued to strengthen both quantity and quality of its capital base.

During 2013, apoBank reduced tail risks in its structured finance and CDS books. The structured finance legacy portfolio shrunk to €288 million as of year-end, down from €1.8 bn as of year-end 2012. The divestment measures also caused a significant improvement in the rating quality of the remaining structured finance book, which according to apoBank's 2013 annual report disclosures is now two to three notches above the weighted-average portfolio quality a year ago . In its CDS book, apoBank's nominal amounts of protection written continuously declined, down to €315m (down c.40% year-over-year), a fraction of the €2.8 billion book reported for year-end 2008; In 2014, another €250 million out of the €315 million remaining nominal exposure will expire.

In terms of overall capitalization, the bank has benefitted from sizable net member capital inflows, which brought its stock of member capital to €943 million as of December 2013, up from €811 million a year earlier. Together with the reduction in risk-weighted assets to €10.9 billion as of December 2013, down from €17.1 billion as of year-end 2012, and despite charges digested as result of an accelerated de-risking, this enabled the bank to report a strong improvement in its Basel 2.5 Tier 1 capital ratio to 17.0% (up from 10.4% as of December 2012).

While current operating profitability levels compare favorably with domestic peers, going forward, Moody's expects core earnings to gradually decline towards levels more in line with the German banking sector, as the beneficial impact of macro hedges on net interest income expires.

The stable outlook on the BFSR reflects the expectation that apoBank's improved quality and quantity of capital as well is its stabilized franchise and risk profile will allow the bank to address the expected decline in operating profitability without negative implications for its risk-/return profile. The stable macro-outlook for Germany and domestic asset quality further underpins the stable outlook for apoBank's C- standalone BFSR.

--- UPGRADE OF SENIOR DEBT RATINGS WITH A STABLE OUTLOOK REFLECT STABILISED FRANCHISE

The upgrade of the long term debt and deposit ratings to A2 from A1 reflects the two notch BCA change backed by observed positive operating trends and a one notch removal of intra-sector support from apoBank's senior debt ratings resulting from our unchanged assumptions in our Joint Default Analysis framework. While Moody's notes that the likelihood of future support from the head association of Germany's cooperative banks remains a solid supporting factor for apoBank, as well as the entire sub sector, this aspect was of even stronger relevance during the period when apoBank benefitted from the sector's comprehensive risk shield, allowing the bank to progressively work down its legacy risk positions since the onset of the financial crisis. The outlook on the bank's long-term rating is stable, in line with the bank's BFSR outlook.

As a result of this support assessment, the A1 debt and deposit ratings are now four notches (instead of five) above the baa2 standalone BCA. The rating uplift includes one notch of systemic support and three notches of intra-sector support (instead of four notches previously).

--- WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING -- UP / DOWN

The C- BFSR could be remapped to a baa1 BCA if apoBank (1) performs in line with its forecasts in particular if apoBank maintains an adequately conservative approach to its risk-/return profile; (2) achieves sustainable and profitable growth of its core loan book, without comprising on credit quality; (3) maintains its capitalisation and further improves its capital structure, in particular by replacing maturing hybrid Tier 1 instruments with member capital.

Upward pressure on the A1 debt and deposit ratings would be subject to an upgrade of the BFSR and unchanged assumptions of cross-sector support.

Downward pressure on the standalone C- BFSR could occur if apoBank (1) fails to maintain currently achieved capital metrics due to either re-leveraging or unexpected impairment losses; and/or (2) faces challenges in its core business in the context of the persistently low interest rate environment.

Downward pressure on the senior and subordinated debt ratings could be triggered by a downgrade of the BFSR and/or by a downward revision of current support assumptions.

RATINGS AFFECTED

Upgraded with stable outlook:

- Standalone BFSR / BCA: to C- / baa2, from D+ / ba1

- Senior unsecured debt and deposits: to A1, from A2 previously

- Senior unsecured Medium-Term Note Program: to (P)A1 from (P)A2

- Subordinated debt: to A3, from Baa1 previously

- Subordinated Medium-Term Note Program: to (P)A3 from (P)Baa1

- Preferred securities, issued by Capital Issuing GmbH: to Baa2 (hyb), from Baa3 (hyb)

Ratings affirmed:

- Short term debt and deposits: affirmed at Prime 1

- Multiple Seniority Medium-Term Note Program: affirmed at (P)P-1

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Global Banks published in May 2013. 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.

Bernhard Held
Asst Vice President - 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

Moody's upgrades apoBank's long-term debt and deposit ratings to A1, outlook stable
No Related Data.
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