Fitch Assigns Alternatifbank's Basel III-Compliant Notes 'BBB-'.
The final rating is the same as the expected rating assigned on 30 March 2015.
The notes qualify as Basel III-compliant Tier 2 instruments and contain contractual loss absorption features that will be triggered at the point of non-viability of the bank. According to the terms, the notes are subject to permanent full or partial write-down upon the occurrence of a non-viability event (NVE). There are no equity conversion provisions in the terms.
An NVE is defined as occurring when the bank has incurred losses and has become, or is likely to become, non-viable as determined by the local regulator, the Banking and Regulatory Supervision Authority (BRSA). The bank will be deemed non-viable when it reaches the point at which either the BRSA determines that its operating license is to be revoked and the bank liquidated, or the rights of ABank's shareholders, and the management and supervision of the bank, should be transferred to the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund. The notes have a 10-year maturity and a call option after five years.
In the event of an NVE, the notes, along with any other parity (Tier 2) loss-absorbing instruments, will be subject to write-down. These write-downs will be made pro rata with other parity instruments. Write-down of the notes would take place following absorption of losses by equity and any junior (Tier 1) securities.
KEY RATING DRIVERS
The notes are notched down once from ABank's Long-Term IDR of 'BBB' in accordance with Fitch's "Global Bank Rating Criteria". The notching includes one notch for loss severity and zero notches for non-performance risk.
Fitch has applied zero notches for incremental non-performance risk, as the agency believes that the risk of the notes absorbing losses is broadly in line with the risk of the bank defaulting on its senior debt, with both depending on the extent to which the bank, in case of need, can receive and utilize, support from its majority shareholder, The Commercial Bank (Q.S.C) (A+/Stable).
The one notch for loss severity reflects Fitch's view of below-average recovery prospects for the notes in case of non-performance. Fitch has applied one notch, rather than two, for loss severity, as partial, and not solely full, write-down of the notes is possible. In Fitch's view, there is significant uncertainty about the extent of losses the notes would face in case of non-performance given that this would be dependent on (i) whether non-performance was driven by an NVE or by the imposition of transfer and convertibility restrictions on the servicing of external debt more generally; (ii) the size of any operating losses incurred by the bank in case of a NVE; and (iii) any measures taken by the authorities to help restore the bank's viability in case of an NVE..
As the notes are notched down from ABank's support-driven Long-Term Foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR), their rating is sensitive to a change in this rating. The notes' rating is also sensitive to a change in notching due to a revision in Fitch's assessment of the probability of the notes' non-performance risk relative to the risk captured in ABank's Long-Term IDR, or in its assessment of loss severity in case of non-performance.