MOODY'S ASSIGNS B2/NP/E+ RATINGS TO GAZBANK (RUSSIA), STABLE OUTLOOK; MOODY'S INTERFAX ASSIGNS Baa1.ru NATIONAL SCALE RATING
October 24, 2005 Сbonds
Moody's Investors Service has assigned the following global scale ratings, with stable outlook, to Gazbank ("GZB"): B2 long-term and Not-Prime (NP) short-term foreign currency deposit ratings and an E+ financial strength rating (FSR). At the same time, Moody's Interfax Rating Agency has assigned a Baa1.ru long-term national scale credit rating (NSR) to GZB. Moscow-based Moody's Interfax is majority-owned by Moody's, a leading global rating agency.
According to Moody's and Moody's Interfax ("Moody's"), the B2/NP/E+ global scale ratings reflect GZB's global default and loss expectation, while the Baa1.ru national scale rating reflects the standing of the bank's credit quality relative to its domestic peers.
The ratings assigned to GZB reflect the bank's leading positions in the retail banking market in both deposit-taking and consumer lending in Russia's Samara region (SR, rated Ba2 by Moody's with a stable outlook), the good quality of GZB's loan book, the current high profitability and the lack of any significant single-party, industry or related-party concentrations. However, Moody's noted that GZB's ratings are constrained by its small size, the geographical concentration of operations in the SR and the bank's low capitalisation, which is limiting the opportunities for growth and franchise strengthening. Growing competition from larger Russian banks and subsidiaries of foreign banks aggressively entering the local retail market and pressure on liquidity from the rapid expansion in lending represent a further constraint on the bank's ratings.
According to Moody's, the B2/NP foreign currency deposit ratings do not incorporate any support in the event of need from either the bank's shareholders or the SR government given that, while such support cannot be ruled out, its scope and timeliness are somewhat uncertain.
BACKGROUND & PROFILE
GZB is headquartered in Samara, a large industrial Russian city, which is located about 1,000 kilometres to the south-east of Moscow. The bank was founded in 1993 as a subsidiary of the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom for the purpose of servicing of its operations in the SR. In 1995 the bank expanded the scope of its activities by providing banking services to companies beyond the gas industry, as well as to local and regional governments. Starting from 2002 the bank has been developing retail business. The structure of shareholders has changed since 1993 and now includes seven prominent local businessmen and politicians, each owning between 13.42% and 14.41% of the bank's stock. The bank's network comprises four branches in the Samara region, two branches in the neighbouring Uliyanovsk region and a branch in the Krasnodar region in the south of Russia. The bank reported total assets of US$272 million and shareholders' equity of US$34 million in accordance with IFRS as of 31 December 2004. According to Interfax, the bank was ranked 102nd in terms of total assets and 126th in terms of capital among Russian banks as at 1 July 2005.
NATIONAL SCALE RATINGS
Moody's Interfax Rating Agency's National Scale Ratings (NSRs) are intended as relative measures of creditworthiness among debt issues and issuers within a country, enabling market participants to better differentiate relative risks. NSRs in Russia are designated by the ".ru" suffix. NSRs differ from global scale ratings, as assigned by Moody's Investors Service, in that they are not globally comparable to the full universe of Moody's rated entities, but only with other rated entities within the same country.
Company — Gazbank
Full namePrivate Joint-stock Company Commercial bank "GAZBANK"