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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades deficiency-guaranteed debt of three Austrian banks

06 Aug 2015

Frankfurt am Main, August 06, 2015 -- Moody's Investors Service has today upgraded the deficiency-guaranteed long-term debt ratings of UniCredit Bank Austria AG (UBA) by two notches to A3, the deficiency-guaranteed long-term debt and deposit ratings of Hypo Tirol Bank AG (Hypo Tirol) by two notches to Baa2 and of Vorarlberger Landes- und Hypothekenbank AG (VLH) by one notch to A3. Moody's has also upgraded the state-guaranteed short-term deposit rating of Hypo Tirol to Prime-2 from Not-Prime and affirmed the state-guaranteed short-term deposit rating of VLH at Prime-2.

Concurrently, the rating agency has upgraded the deficiency-guaranteed subordinate debt ratings of UBA to Baa3 from Ba2, of Hypo Tirol to Ba2 from B1, and of VLH to Baa3 from Ba1.

The deficiency-guaranteed long-term debt ratings of UBA continue to carry a stable outlook while the deficiency-guaranteed long-term debt and deposit ratings of Hypo Tirol and VLH continue to carry a negative outlook, in line with the unguaranteed debt and deposit ratings of these issuers.

The rating actions reflect Moody's view that hurdles to a full cancellation of any deficiency-guarantees on bank debt have significantly risen following the Austrian Constitutional Court's ruling published on 28 July 2015, which repealed the Hypo Reorganisation Act (HaaSanG) and thereby reinstated deficiency guarantees on subordinated debt issued by Hypo Alpe Adria, the predecessor of Heta Asset Resolution AG (Heta, Carinthian-state-guaranteed senior debt Ca developing).

Please refer to the end of this press release for a list of all affected ratings. All other ratings of the listed banks remain unaffected by this rating action.

RATINGS RATIONALE

--- UPGRADE OF UBA'S, HYPO TIROL'S AND VLH'S BACKED RATINGS

Today's upgrades of UBA's, Hypo Tirol's and VLH's deficiency-guarantee-backed long-term ratings follow the Austrian Constitutional Court's announcement on 28 July, which declared as unconstitutional legislation introduced in August 2014. This legislation had (1) allowed the government to bail-in selected subordinated Heta debt holders and (2) declared void the deficiency guarantees of the State of Carinthia (Carinthia, B3 negative) on that portion of the bank's subordinated debt.

Moody's believes that, beyond its direct implications for Heta's debt, the ruling establishes very narrow criteria for a reduction of Austrian deficiency guarantees and bars attempts to fully invalidate such guarantees in the future. Without direct legal force, the ruling comments made by the Court clarify that any reduction in the deficiency-guaranteed amounts would need to be determined within an equitable and comprehensive debt restructuring framework applied to the guarantor of such debt.

With selective debt and guarantee cancellation having been declared unconstitutional and against the background of the Court's comments on such selective actions, Moody's expects that Austrian regional authorities will possess greater degrees of freedom to support full repayment of deficiency-guaranteed debt amounts. In the cases of Hypo Tirol and UBA, such additional flexibility coincides with strong guarantor capacity to meet potential payment requirements upon crystallization of losses covered by contingent deficiency guarantees.

However, the rating agency notes the risk that the beneficiaries of the deficiency guarantee may not receive such payments in a timely fashion due to actions by the legislator or the Austrian resolution authority, as demonstrated in the case of Heta's ongoing payment moratorium.

The two-notch upgrade of Hypo Tirol's and UBA's deficiency-guaranteed senior and subordinate instruments, resulting from an increase in the probability of support to 'high' from 'low', reflects both the increased probability of full ultimate repayment and the risk of these payments not being timely.

For VLH, the one-notch upgrade of the bank's backed long-term senior and subordinate instruments, resulting from an increase in the probability of support to 'moderate' from 'low', reflects the higher weight of deficiency guaranteed debt in comparison to Vorarlberg's regional gross domestic product and the State of Vorarlberg's (unrated) decision taken earlier this year not to participate in a joint support effort for Pfandbriefbank (Oesterreich) AG (Pfandbriefbank, Backed Senior Unsecured debt Ba1 negative).

--- RATIONALE FOR RATING OUTLOOKS ON BACKED SENIOR DEBTS AND DEPOSITS

The outlooks on the banks' state-guaranteed ratings follow the respective outlooks on each bank's non-guaranteed long-term ratings, which is negative in the case of Hypo Tirol and VLH and stable for UBA.

The negative rating outlooks on Hypo Tirol's and VLH's long-term ratings reflect remaining uncertainties around the support measures for Pfandbriefbank under the statutory multi-recourse joint and several liability scheme of its member banks and related Austrian federal states.

The stable outlook on UBA's senior debt and deposit ratings reflects Moody's expectations that the bank's ultimate parent, UniCredit SpA (deposits Baa1 stable/senior unsecured Baa1 stable, baseline credit assessment (BCA) ba1), will remain fully committed to its Austrian subsidiary, and UBA's liability structure will remain broadly unchanged.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

-- Hypo Tirol and VLH

The negative outlooks reflect the absence of upward rating pressure on the banks' backed and non-backed long-term ratings. However, the backed ratings of Hypo Tirol and VLH could be upgraded upon an increase in the support probabilities for these instruments or upon an upgrade in the banks' standalone BCAs.

The backed ratings of Hypo Tirol and VLH could be downgraded upon a decrease in the support probabilities for these instruments, upon a downgrade in the banks' standalone BCAs or in the case of a decline in uplift for senior debts - including backed instruments - as a result of Moody's Loss Given Failure (LGF) analysis.

-- UBA

The backed ratings of UBA could be upgraded upon an increase in the support probabilities for these instruments; an upgrade in the bank's adjusted BCA or an increase in uplift for senior debts -- including backed instruments -- as a result of Moody's LGF analysis.

The backed ratings of UBA could be downgraded upon a decrease in the support probabilities for these instruments; or a downgrade in the bank's adjusted BCA.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

UniCredit Bank Austria AG (UBA)

The following ratings were upgraded:

- backed long-term debt ratings to A3 from Baa2, with stable outlook

- backed subordinate debt ratings, including issuance by Creditanstalt AG, to Baa3 from Ba2

All the above ratings are backed by the City of Vienna (Aaa stable).

Hypo Tirol Bank AG (Hypo Tirol)

The following ratings were upgraded:

- backed long-term debt and deposit ratings to Baa2 from Ba1, with negative outlook

- backed short-term deposit ratings to Prime-2 from Not-Prime

- backed subordinated debt ratings to Ba2 from B1

All the above ratings are backed by the State of Tyrol (unrated).

Vorarlberger Landes- und Hypothekenbank AG (VLH)

The following ratings were upgraded:

- backed long-term debt and deposit ratings to A3 from Baa1, with negative outlook

- backed subordinated debt ratings to Baa3 from Ba1

The following ratings were affirmed:

- backed short-term deposit ratings of Prime-2

All the above backed ratings are backed by the State of Vorarlberg (unrated).

All the other ratings of the above listed banks are unaffected by this rating action.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in March 2015. 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.

The following information supplements Disclosure 10 ("Information Relating to Conflicts of Interest as required by Paragraph (a)(1)(ii)(J) of SEC Rule 17g-7") in the regulatory disclosures made at the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for each credit rating as indicated:

Moody's also was paid for services other than determining a credit rating in the most recently ended fiscal year by the person that paid Moody's to determine the following credit ratings: all ratings for all debts included in the action assigned to UniCredit Bank Austria AG and Hypo Tirol Bank AG.

Moody's was not paid for services other than determining a credit rating in the most recently ended fiscal year by the person that paid Moody's to determine the following credit ratings: all ratings for all debts included in the action assigned to Vorarlberger Landes- und Hypothekenbank AG.

The below contact information is provided for information purposes only. Please see the ratings tab of the issuer page at www.moodys.com, for each of the ratings covered, Moody's disclosures on the lead analyst and the Moody's legal entity that has issued the ratings.

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 deficiency-guaranteed debt of three Austrian banks
No Related Data.
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