October 7, 2013 / 2:40 AM / 4 years ago

Fitch Takes Various Rating Actions on Private Banks in Taiwan

(The following statement was released by the rating agency) TAIPEI/HONG KONG/SINGAPORE, October 06 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings has taken rating actions on several private banks in Taiwan: - It has upgraded Cosmos Bank, Taiwan's (Cosmos) national rating to BBB+(twn) from BBB(twn), - Placed EnTie Commercial Bank's (EnTie) ratings on Positive Outlook, - Changed Bank of Taipei's (BOTP) Outlook to Stable from Negative. - Placed Taichung Commercial Bank's (Taichung) rating on Negative Outlook. - Affirmed all ratings of King's Town Bank (KTB). A full rating breakdown is provided below. Fitch upgraded Cosmos because it expects the bank will continue to generate higher core profitability commensurate with its higher overall risk profile relative to similarly rated peers. Sufficient internal capital generation is likely to support loan growth that is not overly aggressive and yet above the sector average. Cosmos' ratings continue to be constrained by the potential increase in risk profile stemming from its aspiration to expand more rapidly, especially as it may pursue higher-risk borrowers in unsecured personal lending and heads into corporate lending, which was previously not an area of its focus. EnTie's outlook is placed on Positive on expectation of gradual build-up of capital buffer from the bank's consistent and robust core earnings, which is rather comparable to banks rated a notch higher. Fitch returned BOTP's outlook to Stable after determining that its risk profile has not increased materially following loan growth over 2011-2012. Although its ability to internally generate capital is weak, it has a solid capitalization to support its modest near-term loan growth. Taichung's outlook is placed on Negative due to its deteriorating credit profile, with its near-term plan to expand its loan portfolio at a pace faster than the sector average to pressure its already below-par capitalization. The affirmation of KTB is based on its steady credit profile, supported by superior earnings and capital generation, prudently maintained asset quality, and strong capitalization. KEY RATING DRIVERS - IDR, National Ratings, and VRs The ratings of private banks covered are driven by their intrinsic credit profile. Their small deposit market share and lack of systemic importance mean the government is less likely to extend them support. The agency also considers as important credit factors the banks' pace of capital accumulation over 2013-2015, the extent that their capitalization is sufficient to support future growth and to weather sharp increases in credit costs in a cyclical downturn, and their management capacity to implement coherent strategy. Fitch expects profitability of the private banks to decline from the 2012 level, mainly due to rising provisioning risks, with credit costs to normalize from a benign credit cycle in 2010-2012. Catalysts for improved profitability remain limited. That said, KTB, EnTie and Cosmos are likely to register above-average returns on assets and superior internal capital generation in 2013 and 2014. The agency also expects asset quality at most of the banks covered to be generally maintained on stable risk appetite and adequate provisioning. KTB, EnTie and Cosmos also have improved risk management and more experienced management teams following restructurings. However, the banks are vulnerable to a severe property market correction, as most of them have large property-related exposure. Taichung's asset quality will likely be undermined by its rapid loan growth at CAGR of 14.1% over 2009-2012 and insufficient provisions, in Fitch's view, for its recent large impairments to corporate credits. The private banks' capitalizations vary greatly, but most lag those in the Asia-Pacific. The loss absorption buffers are limited for EnTie and Taichung, with their Fitch Core Capital ratio falling below 8% in Fitch's stress scenario. At end-H113, their FCC ratios stood at 7.0% and 8.8%, respectively. These five private banks generally have good liquidity, with loan-to-deposit ratio in the range of 65-85% and backed by sufficiently large holdings of high-quality liquid assets as contingent sources of liquidity. However, EnTie has less favourable funding costs because it has a lower proportion of demand deposits and a more concentrated wholesale deposit base. RATING SENSITIVITIES - IDR, National Ratings, and VRs The ability to generate and accumulate capital, while maintaining adequate asset quality, will differentiate the stand-alone credit strengths of the private banks in Taiwan. Consistent and robust earnings generation that leads to strengthened capitalization may lead to ratings upgrades for the any of the five banks. This is more likely achieved through structural changes such as entry into niche markets, improved earnings quality through expanded business scope, and enhanced costs structure. Weakened capitalization, resulting from significant worsening in asset quality (potentially from a severe property market correction) and/or aggressive pursuit of loan growth, with compromises in underwriting or pricing discipline, and/or entry into areas out of the banks' core competency may lead to ratings downgrades. KEY RATING DRIVERS AND SENSITIVITIES - SR and SRF (KTB and Taichung) Support Ratings (SR) and Support Rating Floors (SRF) for KTB and Taichung reflect their lack of systemic importance and the low probability the state will extend them support, if needed. The SR and SRF are sensitive to any change in assumptions around the propensity or ability of Taiwan government to provide timely support to these banks. This would most likely be manifested in a change to Taiwan's sovereign rating (A+/Stable). KEY RATING DRIVERS - 1) EnTie's senior debt, 2) EnTie and Taichung's subordinated debt, and 3) Taichung's convertible bond EnTie's senior unsecured debt is rated at the same level as its National Long-Term Rating, as they constitute direct, unconditional, unsecured and unsubordinated obligations of the bank. EnTie and Taichung's subordinated debts are rated one notch below their National Long-Term ratings, reflecting their subordinated status and the absence of any going-concern loss-absorption mechanism. Taichung's Basel III-compliant sub-debt is rated two notches below the bank's National Long-Term Rating of 'A-(twn)' to reflect the inclusion of Taiwan's Basel III-styled non-viability trigger provision, which mandates that the bond be ranked equally with common shares upon government receivership, regulatory order for resolution, or liquidation. The bond is notched down twice for limited recovery prospects as the bank's capital would likely be written off at the point of non-viability. These notching practices are in accordance with Fitch's criteria on rating senior unsecured bond instruments and bank regulatory capital of financial institutions. RATING SENSITIVITIES - 1) EnTie's senior debt, 2) EnTie and Taichung's subordinated debt, and 3) Taichung's convertible bond Any action on EnTie and Taichung's ratings is likely to trigger a similar move in their debt ratings. A Credit Update on KTB, EnTie, BOTP, Taichung and Cosmos will be available shortly on www.fitchratings.com. The rating actions are as follows: Cosmos: National Long-Term Rating upgraded to 'BBB+(twn)' from 'BBB(twn)'; Outlook Stable National Short-Term Rating upgrade to 'F2(twn)' from "F3(twn)' EnTie: National Long-Term Rating affirmed at 'A-(twn)'; Outlook Revised to Positive from Stable National Short-Term Rating affirmed at 'F2(twn)' Senior unsecured debt affirmed at 'A-(twn)' Subordinated debt affirmed at 'BBB+(twn)' BOTP: National Long-Term Rating affirmed at 'A-(twn)'; Outlook Revised to Stable from Negative National Short-Term Rating affirmed at 'F1(twn)' Taichung: Long-Term IDR affirmed at 'BB+'; Outlook Revised to Negative from Stable Short-Term IDR affirmed at 'B' National Long-Term Rating affirmed at 'A-(twn)'; Outlook Revised to Negative from Stable National Short-Term Rating affirmed at 'F2(twn)' Viability Rating affirmed at 'bb+' Support Rating affirmed at '5' Support Rating Floor affirmed at 'No Floor' Convertible bonds affirmed at 'A-(twn)' Subordinated bonds affirmed at 'BBB+(twn)' Subordinated bonds (Basel III- compliant) affirmed at 'BBB(twn)' KTB: Long-Term IDR: affirmed at 'BBB-'; Outlook Stable Short-Term IDR: affirmed at 'F3' National Long-Term rating: affirmed at 'A(twn)'; Outlook Stable National Short-Term rating: affirmed at 'F1(twn)' Viability Rating: affirmed at 'bbb-' Support Rating: affirmed at '5' Support Rating Floor: affirmed at 'No Floor' Contacts: Primary Analysts Jenifer Chou, CFA, FRM (KTB, Cosmos) Associate Director +886 2 8175 7605 Fitch Ratings Limited Suite 1306, 13F, 205, Tun Hwa N. Rd., Taipei Cherry Huang, CFA (EnTie) Director +886 2 8175 7603 Clark Wu (BOTP and Taichung) Analyst +886 2 8175 7602 Secondary Analysts Cherry Huang (KTB and BOTP) Director +886 2 8175 7603 Sophia Chen, CFA, CPA (Taichung and Cosmos) Director +886 2 8175 7604 Jack Chiu (EnTie) Associate Director +886 2 8175 7606 Committee Chairperson Tim Roche Senior Director +61 2 8256 0310 Media Relations: Leslie Tan, Singapore, Tel: +65 67 96 7234, Email: leslie.tan@fitchratings.com; Wai-Lun Wan, Hong Kong, Tel: +852 2263 9935, Email: wailun.wan@fitchratings.com. Note to editors: Fitch's National ratings provide a relative measure of creditworthiness for rated entities in countries with relatively low international sovereign ratings and where there is demand for such ratings. The best risk within a country is rated 'AAA' and other credits are rated only relative to this risk. National ratings are designed for use mainly by local investors in local markets and are signified by the addition of an identifier for the country concerned, such as 'AAA(twn)' for National ratings in Taiwan. Specific letter grades are not therefore internationally comparable. Additional information is available at www.fitchratings.com. Applicable criteria, "Global Financial Institutions Rating Criteria", dated 15 August 2012, and 'National Ratings Criteria ', dated 19 January 2011, are available at www.fitchratings.com. Applicable Criteria and Related Research: Global Financial Institutions Rating Criteria here National Ratings Criteria here Additional Disclosure Solicitation Status 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 WEBSITE '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. 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.

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