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Fitch Rates Westpac NZ's Series 2017-1 EUR1bn Covered Bonds 'AAA'; Outlook Stable
April 7, 2017 / 6:03 AM / 6 months ago

Fitch Rates Westpac NZ's Series 2017-1 EUR1bn Covered Bonds 'AAA'; Outlook Stable

(The following statement was released by the rating agency) SYDNEY, April 07 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings has assigned Westpac New Zealand Limited's (WNZL, AA-/Stable/F1+) Series 2017-1 EUR1 billion fixed-rate mortgage covered bonds due April 2022 a rating of 'AAA'. The Outlook is Stable. The fixed-rate bond benefits from a 12-month extendable maturity and is issued through Westpac Securities NZ Limited (WSNZL), London Branch, a guaranteed issuing vehicle WNZL uses for international funding. This issuance brings the programme's total outstanding covered bond issuance to NZD5.1 billion, all of which is issued by WSNZL. These covered bonds are guaranteed by Westpac NZ Covered Bond Limited, a bankruptcy-remote special-purpose vehicle established under the laws of New Zealand. KEY RATING DRIVERS The rating is based on WNZL's Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of 'AA-', an IDR uplift of zero notches, a payment continuity uplift of six notches, a recovery uplift (RU) of one-notch and an asset percentage (AP) of 90.0%. The AP is used in the programme's asset coverage test, is relied on by Fitch in its analysis and is equal to the agency's 'AAA' breakeven AP. The AP supports a 'AA+' tested rating on a probability-of-default basis and a 'AAA' rating after giving credit for recoveries from the cover assets given default of the covered bonds. The Stable Outlook on the covered bonds reflects the four-notch buffer against a downgrade of the bank's IDR. The 'AAA' breakeven AP of 90% corresponds to a breakeven overcollateralisation (OC) of 11.1% and is equivalent to the maximum contractual AP as per the programme documents. The breakeven AP is driven by the asset disposal loss component of 11.8%, reflecting the significant maturity mismatches modelled in the programme, with the weighted-average residual life of the assets at 13.9 years and the liabilities at 4.5 years. The credit loss component contributes 3.5% and the cash flow valuation component decreases the OC by 6.3%, representing the excess spread modelled by Fitch in the programme. The rating's RU is capped at one notch, as foreign-exchange risk could affect recoveries given a default of the covered bonds. Although there are swaps in place on the liabilities, we expect those swaps to terminate upon a covered bond default. This would mean the longer-dated New Zealand dollar asset cash flows would be providing recoveries for the euro-denominated covered bonds. RATING SENSITIVITIES Westpac New Zealand Limited's covered bonds would be vulnerable to a downgrade if the bank's Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) falls below 'BBB+'. Fitch's 'AAA' breakeven AP for the covered bond rating will be affected, among other things, by the profile of the cover assets relative to outstanding covered bonds, which can change over time, even in the absence of new issuance. Therefore, it cannot be assumed that the 'AAA' breakeven AP, which maintains the covered bond rating, will remain stable over time. Contact: Primary Analyst Sambit Agasti Analyst +61 2 8256 0337 Fitch Australia Pty Ltd Level 15, 77 King Street, Sydney NSW 2000 Secondary Analyst Claire Heaton Senior Director +61 2 8256 0361 Committee Chairperson Ben McCarthy Managing Director +61 2 8256 0388 The source of information used to assess these ratings was Westpac New Zealand Limited. The issuer has informed Fitch that not all relevant underlying information used in the analysis of the rated bonds is public. Media Relations: Leslie Tan, Singapore, Tel: +65 67 96 7234, Email: leslie.tan@fitchratings.com. Additional information is available on www.fitchratings.com Applicable Criteria APAC Residential Mortgage Criteria (pub. 30 Aug 2016) here Covered Bonds Rating Criteria (pub. 26 Oct 2016) here Fitch's Cover Assets Refinancing Spread Level (RSL) Assumptions - Excel file (pub. 20 Jan 2017) here Global Bank Rating Criteria (pub. 25 Nov 2016) here Structured Finance and Covered Bonds Counterparty Rating Criteria (pub. 20 Mar 2017) here Structured Finance and Covered Bonds Counterparty Rating Criteria: Derivative Addendum (pub. 20 Mar 2017) here Additional Disclosures Dodd-Frank Rating Information Disclosure Form here _id=1021837 Solicitation Status here Endorsement Policy here ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: here. IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY'S PUBLIC WEB SITE AT <a href="https://www.fitchratings.com">WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM.. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA, AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE, AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE CODE OF CONDUCT SECTION OF THIS SITE. DIRECTORS AND SHAREHOLDERS RELEVANT INTERESTS ARE AVAILABLE AT <a href="https://www.fitchratings.com/site/regulatory">HTTPS://WWW. FITCHRATINGS.COM /SITE/REGULATORY. FITCH MAY HAVE PROVIDED ANOTHER PERMISSIBLE SERVICE TO THE RATED ENTITY OR ITS RELATED THIRD PARTIES. DETAILS OF THIS SERVICE FOR RATINGS FOR WHICH THE LEAD ANALYST IS BASED IN AN EU-REGISTERED ENTITY CAN BE FOUND ON THE ENTITY SUMMARY PAGE FOR THIS ISSUER ON THE FITCH WEBSITE. Copyright © 2017 by Fitch Ratings, Inc., Fitch Ratings Ltd. and its subsidiaries. 33 Whitehall Street, NY, NY 10004. Telephone: 1-800-753-4824, (212) 908-0500. Fax: (212) 480-4435. Reproduction or retransmission in whole or in part is prohibited except by permission. All rights reserved. In issuing and maintaining its ratings and in making other reports (including forecast information), Fitch relies on factual information it receives from issuers and underwriters and from other sources Fitch believes to be credible. Fitch conducts a reasonable investigation of the factual information relied upon by it in accordance with its ratings methodology, and obtains reasonable verification of that information from independent sources, to the extent such sources are available for a given security or in a given jurisdiction. The manner of Fitch’s factual investigation and the scope of the third-party verification it obtains will vary depending on the nature of the rated security and its issuer, the requirements and practices in the jurisdiction in which the rated security is offered and sold and/or the issuer is located, the availability and nature of relevant public information, access to the management of the issuer and its advisers, the availability of pre-existing third-party verifications such as audit reports, agreed-upon procedures letters, appraisals, actuarial reports, engineering reports, legal opinions and other reports provided by third parties, the availability of independent and competent third- party verification sources with respect to the particular security or in the particular jurisdiction of the issuer, and a variety of other factors. Users of Fitch’s ratings and reports should understand that neither an enhanced factual investigation nor any third-party verification can ensure that all of the information Fitch relies on in connection with a rating or a report will be accurate and complete. Ultimately, the issuer and its advisers are responsible for the accuracy of the information they provide to Fitch and to the market in offering documents and other reports. In issuing its ratings and its reports, Fitch must rely on the work of experts, including independent auditors with respect to financial statements and attorneys with respect to legal and tax matters. Further, ratings and forecasts of financial and other information are inherently forward-looking and embody assumptions and predictions about future events that by their nature cannot be verified as facts. As a result, despite any verification of current facts, ratings and forecasts can be affected by future events or conditions that were not anticipated at the time a rating or forecast was issued or affirmed. The information in this report is provided “as is” without any representation or warranty of any kind, and Fitch does not represent or warrant that the report or any of its contents will meet any of the requirements of a recipient of the report. A Fitch rating is an opinion as to the creditworthiness of a security. This opinion and reports made by Fitch are based on established criteria and methodologies that Fitch is continuously evaluating and updating. Therefore, ratings and reports are the collective work product of Fitch and no individual, or group of individuals, is solely responsible for a rating or a report. The rating does not address the risk of loss due to risks other than credit risk, unless such risk is specifically mentioned. Fitch is not engaged in the offer or sale of any security. All Fitch reports have shared authorship. Individuals identified in a Fitch report were involved in, but are not solely responsible for, the opinions stated therein. The individuals are named for contact purposes only. A report providing a Fitch rating is neither a prospectus nor a substitute for the information assembled, verified and presented to investors by the issuer and its agents in connection with the sale of the securities. Ratings may be changed or withdrawn at any time for any reason in the sole discretion of Fitch. Fitch does not provide investment advice of any sort. Ratings are not a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Ratings do not comment on the adequacy of market price, the suitability of any security for a particular investor, or the tax-exempt nature or taxability of payments made in respect to any security. Fitch receives fees from issuers, insurers, guarantors, other obligors, and underwriters for rating securities. Such fees generally vary from US$1,000 to US$750,000 (or the applicable currency equivalent) per issue. In certain cases, Fitch will rate all or a number of issues issued by a particular issuer, or insured or guaranteed by a particular insurer or guarantor, for a single annual fee. Such fees are expected to vary from US$10,000 to US$1,500,000 (or the applicable currency equivalent). The assignment, publication, or dissemination of a rating by Fitch shall not constitute a consent by Fitch to use its name as an expert in connection with any registration statement filed under the United States securities laws, the Financial Services and Markets Act of 2000 of the United Kingdom, or the securities laws of any particular jurisdiction. Due to the relative efficiency of electronic publishing and distribution, Fitch research may be available to electronic subscribers up to three days earlier than to print subscribers. For Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan and South Korea only: Fitch Australia Pty Ltd holds an Australian financial services license (AFS license no. 337123) which authorizes it to provide credit ratings to wholesale clients only. Credit ratings information published by Fitch is not intended to be used by persons who are retail clients within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001

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