Germany-Based DVB Bank Ratings Lowered To 'BBB/A-2' On Weakened Strategic Importance To Owner; Outlook Negative

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1 Research Update: Germany-Based DVB Bank Ratings Lowered To 'BBB/A-2' On Weakened Strategic Importance To Owner; Outlook Negative Primary Credit Analyst: Cihan Duran, Frankfurt (49) ; Secondary Contact: Bernd Ackermann, Frankfurt (49) ; Table Of Contents Overview Rating Action Rationale Outlook Ratings Score Snapshot Related Criteria Related Research Ratings List DECEMBER 15,

2 Research Update: Germany-Based DVB Bank Ratings Lowered To 'BBB/A-2' On Weakened Strategic Importance To Owner; Outlook Negative Overview Transport finance specialist DVB Bank is having a difficult year 2017, with high additional provisioning requirements for its troubled offshore exploration and shipping finance portfolios. We believe that DVB Bank's weakening risk-return profile is eroding the likelihood that its parent DZ Bank and ultimate parent, the Cooperative Banking Sector Germany, would want to remain long-term owners of DVB Bank, despite recent support commitments. We are therefore lowering the long- and short-term issuer credit ratings on DVB Bank by multiple notches to 'BBB/A-2' from 'A+/A-1'. The negative outlook reflects the risk that, contrary to our assumptions, DZ Bank could sell DVB Bank to a less-supportive shareholder or that DVB Bank's capitalization could decline despite DZ Bank's commitment to absorb net losses. Rating Action On Dec. 15, 2017, S&P Global Ratings lowered its long-term issuer credit rating on transport finance bank DVB Bank SE (DVB) by four notches to 'BBB' from 'A+' and lowered the short-term rating to 'A-2' from 'A-1'. The outlook is negative. At the same time, we lowered our issue ratings on the bank's senior subordinated bonds to 'BBB-' from 'A', and on its non-deferrable subordinated debt to 'BB+' from 'A-'. Rationale The downgrade follows our review of DVB's group status to its sole owner DZ Bank and its ultimate parent, the Cooperative Banking Sector Germany, in light of DVB's likely very weak financial performance (before parental support measures) in We are taking this action after considering recent new support undertakings by its owners and DVB's updated financial prospects. We have also taken into account our changed perception of a sale of DVB, despite viewing this as still unlikely. According to recent media releases, DZ Bank has hired an advisor to seek strategic options. In our view, DVB's very weak financial performance over the past two years is DECEMBER 15,

3 weakening its owners' forward-looking perception of DVB's risk-return profile. Furthermore, DVB's regulatory capital requirements are likely to increase, for example, as a result of the recently agreed Basel III refinements or supervisory reviews. This could reduce DVB's ability to earn its cost of capital and subsequently limit its attractiveness to its owners. In our view, these developments are reducing the likelihood that DZ Bank and the Cooperative Banking Sector Germany would want to remain long-term owners of DVB. Nevertheless, in our view, a sale of DVB is still unlikely, in particular to a non-strategic investor, given DZ Bank's track record of preserving value in DVB and other subsidiaries, and considering potential reputational risks and contingent liabilities for its owners that might be associated with such a sale. A recently signed control and profit and loss transfer agreement, which commits DZ Bank to cover DVB's net losses in its stand-alone financial accounts under German accounting standards, further mitigates these negative developments at least while DZ remains its owner. It reduces the downside risk on DVB's capitalization from its offshore exploration and shipping finance portfolio. DVB has had a difficult year 2017, in which almost 60% of its loan portfolio was hit by adverse conditions in international shipping and offshore exploration markets. Substantial loan loss provisions triggered an extraordinary capital contribution of 500 million from DZ Bank in August 2017 to restore its regulatory capitalization level. DZ Bank already took full ownership of DVB in 2017 after deciding to squeeze out the remaining 5% equity stake in 2016 when it gave DVB a first capital injection of 150 million. Subsequently, DZ Bank and DVB signed a control and profit and loss transfer agreement in September 2017, mainly to shield DVB from further losses and to get full control of the bank. The agreement reduces the downside risk to DVB's capitalization, based on our assumption that the bank would not use its fund for general banking risk under German accounting standards ( million at year-end 2016) to prevent a net loss. This fund represents shareholders' equity in International Financial Reporting Standards-consolidated accounts and supports our view of DVB's capital. Likely higher future minimum capital requirements for the bank provide an incentive to retain current capital levels. As a result, we have revised upward DVB's stand-alone credit profile (SACP) to 'bb' from 'bb-'. The agreement further underpins DZ Bank's commitment to provide ongoing and extraordinary support to DVB, although DZ Bank may terminate the agreement, for example if DVB were sold. Balancing these factors, we now see DVB as a strategically important subsidiary to its owners DZ Bank and the Cooperative Banking Sector Germany, revised down from highly strategic previously. We still view a sale as unlikely because we understand that DZ Bank aims to preserve the value of its stake in DVB, while interest in banks such as DVB has been limited in the past. Additionally, we understand that the Cooperative Banking Sector Germany's protection scheme would remain liable for certain pre-existing obligations of DVB even if DVB were sold and its membership in the scheme were subsequently cancelled. Finally, DVB's funding costs, and therefore its DECEMBER 15,

4 profitability, depend heavily on investor perception given that it funds itself almost exclusively in the unsecured capital market. We believe these factors would continue to present important hurdles to a potential sale of DVB, in particular to a non-strategic less-supportive shareholder. That said, we cannot exclude such a scenario in light of the low interest rate environment and favorable global economic growth, which might render DVB a more attractive investment opportunity for third parties than before. Following the revision of its group status, we derive our 'BBB' rating on DVB by adding three notches of extraordinary group support to its updated SACP of 'bb'. This reflects our unchanged view that the Cooperative Banking Sector Germany would support those institutions that are members of its institutional protection scheme, including DVB. Furthermore, DVB's 'bb' SACP benefits from ongoing support by DZ Bank. We project that our risk-adjusted capital (RAC) ratio will stabilize at 4.5%-5.0% over the next months on the back of DZ Bank's commitment to absorb losses. The commitment also reduces the downside risk to capital that could otherwise emerge from potential further provisioning requirements and from the concentrated nature of its loan book in cyclical sectors. Finally, we also reflect ongoing funding support from the sector in our rating on DVB, because roughly 33% of DVB's term funding, as of Sept. 30, 2017, came from DZ Bank and other cooperative banks. Also, we understand that DVB would benefit from liquidity support from DZ Bank if needed. The share of long-term funding by the sector is declining, however, as DVB currently achieves refinancing exclusively with third-party investors. We continue to use our issuer credit rating on DVB as the starting point from which we derive the ratings on its senior subordinated and non-deferrable subordinated (Tier 2) debt instruments. The senior subordinated debt instruments are plain-vanilla unsecured term obligations by DVB, which have been statutorily subordinated to other senior unsecured debt in liquidation and resolution under the German Credit Act, paragraph 46f. We take this starting point because DVB is covered under the sector's protection scheme. The mandate of the scheme is to prevent member institutions becoming insolvent, which, in our view, would support payments on these instruments. Outlook The negative outlook reflects the risk that, contrary to our assumptions, DVB's capitalization could decline despite DZ Bank's commitment to absorb net losses, or that DZ Bank could sell DVB to a less supportive shareholder. We could lower the ratings on DVB in the next months if: We anticipated that the profit and loss transfer agreement with DZ Bank does not shield DVB's capitalization against major downside risk. This could happen if DVB used its fund for general banking risk reserves to prevent a net loss in its stand-alone accounts. In particular, it would be negative if we projected a higher risk that DVB's RAC ratio could decline below 4%; or There were visible signs that DVB could be sold to a less supportive DECEMBER 15,

5 shareholder, which we view as unlikely. This could lead us to downgrade the bank by multiple notches considering the high level ongoing and extraordinary group support we currently factor into the ratings. We could revise our outlook to stable in the next months if downside risks to DVB's group support uplift were to reduce. This could happen if we saw continued evidence that the profit and loss transfer agreement shielded DVB's capital against deterioration and potential tail risk from its concentrated loan book. Clearer evidence that a sale to a less-supportive shareholder is unlikely would also support an outlook revision to stable. Ratings Score Snapshot To From Issuer Credit Rating BBB/Negative/A-2 A+/Negative/A-1 SACP bb bb- Anchor bbb+ bbb+ Business Position Weak (-2) Weak (-2) Capital and Earnings Weak (-2) Weak (-2) Risk Position Adequate (0) Moderate (-1) Funding and Average and (0) Average and (0) Liquidity Adequate Adequate Support (+3) (+8) ALAC Support (0) (0) GRE Support (0) (0) Group Support (+3) (+8) Sovereign Support (0) (0) Additional Factors (0) (0) SACP--Stand-alone credit profile. ALAC--Additional loss-absorbing capacity. GRE--Government-related entity. Related Criteria Criteria - Financial Institutions - General: Risk-Adjusted Capital Framework Methodology, July 20, 2017 General Criteria: Methodology For Linking Long-Term And Short-Term Ratings, April 7, 2017 Criteria - Financial Institutions - Banks: Bank Rating Methodology And Assumptions: Additional Loss-Absorbing Capacity, April 27, DECEMBER 15,

6 Criteria - Financial Institutions - Banks: Bank Hybrid Capital And Nondeferrable Subordinated Debt Methodology And Assumptions, Jan. 29, 2015 General Criteria: Group Rating Methodology, Nov. 19, 2013 Criteria - Financial Institutions - Banks: Quantitative Metrics For Rating Banks Globally: Methodology And Assumptions, July 17, 2013 Criteria - Financial Institutions - Banks: Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment Methodology And Assumptions, Nov. 9, 2011 Criteria - Financial Institutions - Banks: Banks: Rating Methodology And Assumptions, Nov. 9, 2011 General Criteria: Use Of CreditWatch And Outlooks, Sept. 14, 2009 Criteria - Financial Institutions - Banks: Commercial Paper I: Banks, March 23, 2004 Related Research Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment: Germany, Oct. 11, 2017 S&P Global Ratings Raises 2018 Brent Oil Price Assumptions To $55; WTI Unchanged At $50; Assigns 2020 Oil & Gas Prices, Nov. 24, 2017 Ratings List Downgraded To From DVB Bank SE Counterparty Credit Rating BBB/Negative/A-2 A+/Negative/A-1 Senior Subordinated BBB- A Subordinated BB+ A- Additional Contact: Financial Institutions Ratings Europe; Certain terms used in this report, particularly certain adjectives used to express our view on rating relevant factors, have specific meanings ascribed to them in our criteria, and should therefore be read in conjunction with such criteria. Please see Ratings Criteria at for further information. Complete ratings information is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect at All ratings affected by this rating action can be found on the S&P Global Ratings' public website at Use the Ratings search box located in the left column. Alternatively, call one of the following S&P Global Ratings numbers: Client Support Europe (44) ; London Press Office (44) ; Paris (33) ; Frankfurt (49) ; Stockholm (46) ; or Moscow 7 (495) DECEMBER 15,

7 Copyright 2017 by Standard & Poor s Financial Services LLC. All rights reserved. No content (including ratings, credit-related analyses and data, valuations, model, software or other application or output therefrom) or any part thereof (Content) may be modified, reverse engineered, reproduced or distributed in any form by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of Standard & Poor s Financial Services LLC or its affiliates (collectively, S&P). The Content shall not be used for any unlawful or unauthorized purposes. S&P and any third-party providers, as well as their directors, officers, shareholders, employees or agents (collectively S&P Parties) do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or availability of the Content. S&P Parties are not responsible for any errors or omissions (negligent or otherwise), regardless of the cause, for the results obtained from the use of the Content, or for the security or maintenance of any data input by the user. The Content is provided on an as is basis. S&P PARTIES DISCLAIM ANY AND ALL EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE, FREEDOM FROM BUGS, SOFTWARE ERRORS OR DEFECTS, THAT THE CONTENT S FUNCTIONING WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR THAT THE CONTENT WILL OPERATE WITH ANY SOFTWARE OR HARDWARE CONFIGURATION. In no event shall S&P Parties be liable to any party for any direct, indirect, incidental, exemplary, compensatory, punitive, special or consequential damages, costs, expenses, legal fees, or losses (including, without limitation, lost income or lost profits and opportunity costs or losses caused by negligence) in connection with any use of the Content even if advised of the possibility of such damages. Credit-related and other analyses, including ratings, and statements in the Content are statements of opinion as of the date they are expressed and not statements of fact. S&P s opinions, analyses and rating acknowledgment decisions (described below) are not recommendations to purchase, hold, or sell any securities or to make any investment decisions, and do not address the suitability of any security. S&P assumes no obligation to update the Content following publication in any form or format. The Content should not be relied on and is not a substitute for the skill, judgment and experience of the user, its management, employees, advisors and/or clients when making investment and other business decisions. S&P does not act as a fiduciary or an investment advisor except where registered as such. While S&P has obtained information from sources it believes to be reliable, S&P does not perform an audit and undertakes no duty of due diligence or independent verification of any information it receives. To the extent that regulatory authorities allow a rating agency to acknowledge in one jurisdiction a rating issued in another jurisdiction for certain regulatory purposes, S&P reserves the right to assign, withdraw or suspend such acknowledgment at any time and in its sole discretion. S&P Parties disclaim any duty whatsoever arising out of the assignment, withdrawal or suspension of an acknowledgment as well as any liability for any damage alleged to have been suffered on account thereof. S&P keeps certain activities of its business units separate from each other in order to preserve the independence and objectivity of their respective activities. As a result, certain business units of S&P may have information that is not available to other S&P business units. S&P has established policies and procedures to maintain the confidentiality of certain non-public information received in connection with each analytical process. S&P may receive compensation for its ratings and certain analyses, normally from issuers or underwriters of securities or from obligors. S&P reserves the right to disseminate its opinions and analyses. S&P's public ratings and analyses are made available on its Web sites, (free of charge), and and (subscription), and may be distributed through other means, including via S&P publications and third-party redistributors. Additional information about our ratings fees is available at STANDARD & POOR S, S&P and RATINGSDIRECT are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor s Financial Services LLC. DECEMBER 15,

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