BBK gets Fitch ratings upgrade
Manama, December 25, 2013
Bahrain-based lender BBK said Fitch Ratings has upgraded its long-term issuer default rating (LT IDR) to 'BBB' (with a 'stable' outlook) from 'BBB-', and has also revised its support rating floor (SRF) to 'BBB' from 'BBB-'.
BBK is 32 per cent owned by the Bahraini government. The subordinated debt rating has also been upgraded by one notch, mirroring the upgrade of the bank's LT IDR.
The rating actions follow a periodic review by Fitch of Bahraini banks, said Fitch in its statement.
Fitch noted that BBK's LT IDR and SRF ratings are driven by support from the Bahraini government, which is rated 'BBB/stable'.
Fitch's view of support for BBK is based on its systemic importance as a major retail and commercial bank in Bahrain, and the high propensity of the Bahraini government to support domestic commercial banks.
Commenting on the upgrade, BBK chief executive Abdulkarim Bucheery said: "We are very pleased to learn of our ratings upgrades by Fitch and are most encouraged by their positive comments about the bank."
"We have a solid, well-established franchise and are justifiably proud of the bank's resilient financial performance in recent years," he stated.
"As regards comments made by Fitch on BBK's capital ratios, we intend to consider the possibility of a capital increase once the position in respect of Basel III minimum capital requirements for banks in Bahrain is clear," he added.
Meanwhile, another Bahraini lender Ahli United Bank (AUB) has received a credit ratings upgrade from Standard & Poor’s.
The ratings agency has raised its long-term counterparty credit rating on the bank from “BBB” to “BBB+” stable.
AUB chairman Fahad Al Rajaan said the upgrading of AUB long term credit rating to BBB+ stable reflects the underlying strength of AUB Group and is a strong endorsement for its regional business model which has proven to be resilient and diversified over the years.-TradeArabia News Service