(The following statement was released by the rating agency)
Oct 05 - Fitch Ratings has affirmed Slovakia-based Slovenska Sporitelna's (SLSP) Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'A' with a Stable Outlook and its Viability Rating at 'bbb'. A full list of rating actions is at the end of this commentary.
RATING ACTION RATIONALE AND DRIVERS
SLSP's Long-term IDR is equalised with that of its 100% ultimate shareholder, Erste Group Bank AG (Erste, 'A'/Stable), reflecting Fitch's view that the parent would be extremely likely to provide support to SLSP. Fitch classifies SLSP as a 'core' subsidiary for Erste, given the latter's particularly strong integration and regional proximity, high strategic importance to the group and Erste's full ownership of SLSP. The Stable Outlook on SLSP's Long-term IDR reflects that on Erste.
The Viability Rating is based on SLSP's market leading position in key banking segments, strong core profitability, strong funding base and sound capitalisation. The rating also reflects sizable exposure to the real estate sector, although mainly through mortgage loans, large-borrower concentrations in the corporate portfolio, the negative effects of the upcoming special bank levy in Slovakia and pressures from the slowdown in domestic demand and a relatively low margin environment.
Any changes in Erste's IDRs, or a marked revision in Fitch's view of potential support from Erste, would directly affect SLSP''s IDRs.
The Viability Rating could benefit from an improvement in macroeconomic trends and a reduction in portfolio concentrations, should core profitability, capitalisation and liquidity be maintained at current levels. Downward pressure may result from significant losses driven by large scale credit exposures, or a significant deterioration in the operating environment.
The rating actions are as follows: SLSP Long-term foreign currency IDR: affirmed at 'A'; Outlook Stable Short-term foreign currency IDR: affirmed at 'F1' Support Rating: affirmed at '1' Viability Rating: affirmed at 'bbb' For all of Fitch's Eurozone Crisis commentary go to