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13 April 2018

S&P upgrades B&N Bank’s credit ratings to ‘B+/B’ and assigns positive outlook

S&P Global Ratings (S&P) has upgraded B&N Bank’s long-term issuer credit rating and long-term issue ratings on the Bank’s senior unsecured debt to ‘B+’ from ‘B’, whilst affirming its short-term issuer credit rating at ‘B’. The outlook is positive.

S&P, in its press release, states that the credit rating upgrade reflects the agency’s view that B&N Bank’s financial standing has “substantially improved” following the Central Bank of Russia’s recapitalisation through a capital injection of RUB 56.9 billion and the full repayment by Rost Bank of interbank loans from B&N Bank in March 2018 (the latter resulting in the release of provisions held against these loans). This has enabled B&N Bank to build up “substantial capital buffers” and comply comfortably with all regulatory capital adequacy requirements.

S&P assesses positively the announced merger of B&N Bank into Bank Otkritie, scheduled for completion by end Q1 2019, noting that the combined bank's business position should be strengthened by its large market share (#3 bank by retail deposits / #5 by total assets in Russia), material geographical footprint in Russia, large client base, and status as a state-owned bank.

Moreover, the agency notes the experience of the new management team in integration and transformation, which should support the development and execution of the Bank's transformation.

The positive outlook reflects the agency’s expectation that B&N Bank will be merged into Bank Otkritie by 1 April 2019, which may enhance the combined bank’s systemic importance (B&N Bank’s current ratings incorporate one notch of support for moderate systemic importance). It also reflects S&P’s view that the combined group’s creditworthiness will likely gradually strengthen in the next 12-18 months and its risk profile improve due to the reduction of NPLs.

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