MOSCOW (Standard & Poor's) Nov. 27, 2006--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it raised its long- and short-term counterparty credit ratings on Russia-based Bank URALSIB (OJSC) to 'B+/B' from 'B/C'. The outlook remains positive.
"The upgrade was driven by reduced integration risks linked to the complex merger of the five banks that formed URALSIB in 2005, and by the increasing business diversification of the enlarged bank," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Eugene Tarzimanov.
The ratings are constrained by URALSIB's still risky, albeit gradually improving, operating environment; modest core profitability; concentrated funding base; and high exposure to market risk.
"These constraints are mitigated, however, by the bank's strong growth potential in a rapidly expanding market; relatively good customer franchise in Russia, particularly in the 'BB' rated Republic of Bashkortostan; and good capitalization," added Mr. Tarzimanov.