February 12, 2015 / 5:03 PM / 3 years ago

Fitch Affirms Banco Rabobank International Brasil S.A.'s Ratings; Outlook Stable

(The following statement was released by the rating agency) SAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO, February 12 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings has affirmed Banco Rabobank International Brasil S.A.'s (Rabobank) National ratings as follows: --National long-term rating at 'AAA(bra)'; Outlook Stable; --National short-term rating at 'F1+(bra)'. KEY RATING DRIVERS The affirmation of Rabobank's ratings reflects the continued support from its ultimate parent, Rabobank Group (RBG; long-term Issuer Default Rating 'AA-', Negative Outlook), a bank that consists of 136 local cooperative banks in the Netherlands, counting with around 1.9 million members. It has strong franchises in the Dutch markets, where it accounts for roughly a quarter of the banking system's assets, being considered a systemically important bank by Dutch authorities. Fitch considers Rabobank as a strategically important subsidiary of RBG, given its importance to the group, the common branding and its high level of managerial and operational integration with its parent. One example is the importance that parent gives to automation. Domestically, Rabobank is investing in its systems as the parent can have real time verification of specific transactions made by the subsidiary. In addition, there are regular reports to the parent and quarterly meetings. The level of integration is also observed by top management executives constant trips to Brazil from Netherlands (and vice-versa), to deeply understand activities and the domestic environment. The food and agriculture sector is a strategic focus of Rabobank, explaining the bank's high interest in Brazil. In the country, Rabobank focuses on the agro industry, where clients often face cash flow volatility, mainly due to weather conditions, and political influences, which most of the times benefit the agro producer, normally when macro conditions deteriorate. In addition, part of the bank's clients are short in the USD currency, which can translate into losses - although, not necessarily accompanied by liquidity problems. Rabobank has demonstrated strong credit risk management skills in the Brazilian market through the cycles, supported by its experience of more than 24 years in the country. The Brazilian subsidiary is specialized in agribusiness and its total assets represent a low 1% of RBG, indicating relatively low cost of support, in case of need. The institution possesses a strong credit culture and systems to monitor such risks, in Fitch's view. During 2013 and 2014, the weak economy led to an increase in its charge offs to a (still very low) 0.06% in June 2014 (0.08% in end-2013 and 0.04% in end-2012). Likewise, impaired loans (in the range of 'D' to 'H' categories) maintained a higher level (2.6%) in comparison with 2012, when it was around 1.9%, despite that loan-loss reserves (to impaired loans) presented an increase in comparison with 2013, reaching 70% in the first half of 2014 (1H'14), 55% in end-2013. Fitch believes that problem loans - particularly non-performing loans - can increase in 2015 due to a still lackluster economy coupled with uncertainties in the Brazilian agribusiness market, notably in the sugar/ethanol industry. As observed with other foreign banks operating in Brazil, Rabobank does not operate with high capital margins. Depending on growth, the bank might receive capital injection from RBG in 2015. The injection of USD300 million as Tier II capital in 2012 helped it to maintain regulatory capital around 14.8%, while the Fitch Core Capital ratio was stable in June 2014 at 9.58%, 9.64% at end-2013 from 8.04% at end-2012. Furthermore, non-equity funding from the RBG group corresponded to 26% at June 2014, 22% at end-2013 and 17% at end-2012. RATING SENSITIVITIES A multi-notch downgrade of RBG and/or a change in the propensity to provide support to its subsidiary could lead to a negative rating action on Rabobank's national ratings. Contact: Primary Analyst Claudio Gallina Director +55 11 4504 2216 Fitch Ratings Brasil Ltda. Alameda Santos, 700 - 7th floor Sao Paulo, SP, Brasil Secondary Analyst Pedro Gomes Director +55 11 4504 2604 Committee Chairperson Franklin Santarelli Managing Director +1-212-908-0739 Media Relations: Jaqueline Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Tel: +55 21 4503 2623, Email: jaqueline.carvalho@fitchratings.com; Elizabeth Fogerty, New York, Tel: +1 (212) 908 0526, Email: elizabeth.fogerty@fitchratings.com. Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'. Applicable Criteria and Related Research: --'National Scale Ratings Criteria' (Oct. 30, 2013); --'Rating FI Subsidiaries and Holding Companies' (Aug. 10, 2012); --'Global Financial Institutions Rating Criteria' (Jan. 31, 2014). Applicable Criteria and Related Research: National Scale Ratings Criteria here Rating FI Subsidiaries and Holding Companies here Global Financial Institutions Rating Criteria here Additional Disclosure Solicitation Status 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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