December 17, 2014 / 9:12 AM / 3 years ago

Fitch: Stable Outlook for Most Moroccan Banks In 2015

(The following statement was released by the rating agency) LONDON, December 17 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings says the ratings of Moroccan banks will continue to be driven by Fitch's expectations that they would be supported, either by the Moroccan State or by their majority shareholders, in case of need. As a result, the Outlook on three of the four largest Moroccan banks rated by Fitch is Stable. The three banks are Attijariwafa Bank (AWB; BB+/Stable/bb-), BMCE Bank (BMCE; BB+/Stable/b+) and Banque Marocaine pour le Commerce et l'Industrie (BMCI, AAA(mar)/Stable). The Outlook on the fourth-largest bank rated by Fitch, Societe Generale Marocaine de Banques (SGMB, AAA(mar)/Negative))'s National Long-Term Rating is Negative and mirrors that on Societe Generale's (SG, A/Negative) Long-Term IDR. Fitch's sector outlook for Moroccan banks is also stable. It balances resilient profitability against modest levels of capitalisation given substantial risk appetite towards higher volatile operating environments and moderate asset quality. We expect the Moroccan banking sector to benefit from better non-agricultural domestic performance forecasts in 2015, which should have a positive impact on the domestic banking activity. This should translate into higher revenues and lower loan impairment charges. Domestic banking remains the largest contributor to operating profit for all Moroccan banks although diversification into higher risk markets have been realised by the three largest Moroccan banks. Further strategic acquisitions in sub-Saharan Africa could materialise in 2015, although Fitch expects Moroccan banks to focus on organic growth. Fitch expects that asset quality will remain under pressure in 2015 albeit manageable - given the significant exposure of Moroccan banks to domestic SMEs and corporates, whose performance remains sensitive to the Moroccan economy. Obligor concentration will also remain a weakness. Fitch expects capital ratios to be stable and still modest in 2015 and capital buffers to remain in line with minimum regulatory requirements. We believe funding and liquidity will continue to benefit largely from increased repo facilities with the Moroccan central bank. The report, '2015 Outlook: Major Moroccan Bank', is available on www.fitchratings.com or by clicking the link above. Contact: Solena Gloaguen Director +44 20 3530 1126 Fitch Rating Limited 30 North Colonnade London E14 5GN Eric Dupont Senior Director +33 1 44 29 91 31 Media Relations: Elaine Bailey, London, Tel: +44 203 530 1153, Email: elaine.bailey@fitchratings.com. Additional information is available at www.fitchratings.com. Applicable Criteria and Related Research: 2015 Outlook: Major Moroccan Banks here ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: here. IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY'S PUBLIC WEBSITE 'WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM'. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE 'CODE OF CONDUCT' SECTION OF THIS SITE. FITCH MAY HAVE PROVIDED ANOTHER PERMISSIBLE SERVICE TO THE RATED ENTITY OR ITS RELATED THIRD PARTIES. DETAILS OF THIS SERVICE FOR RATINGS FOR WHICH THE LEAD ANALYST IS BASED IN AN EU-REGISTERED ENTITY CAN BE FOUND ON THE ENTITY SUMMARY PAGE FOR THIS ISSUER ON THE FITCH WEBSITE.

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