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S&P upgrades Bank ABC’s outlook to ‘Stable’ and affirms its BBB-/A-3’ ratings
2022-04-27

The upgrade is largely attributed to the Bank’s enhanced capital position, stabilised asset quality and solid funding position 

Manama, Bahrain: Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings (S&P) has upgraded Bank ABC’s rating to “Stable” from “Negative”, while affirming its long and short-term issuer credit ratings of ‘BBB-/A-3’. This revision comes on the back of the Bank’s prudent capital enhancement and risk management actions in recent months. 

The outlook revision follows the private placement of a US$390 million AT1 instrument in March 2022, which was fully subscribed by the Bank’s largest shareholder, the Central Bank of Libya. It also reflects the Bank’s moderated dividend distribution policy of 30% of net profits, allowing capital retention  to match asset growth. Such measures are expected to raise the Bank’s S&P Risk Adjusted Capital (RAC) ratio to 10.3 -10.5%, compared to 9.6% at year-end 2021, which resulted from its acquisition of BLOM Bank Egypt. S&P have therefore restored the assessment of capital and earnings to Strong (+1) on its rating evaluation framework. 

The revised rating also reflects Bank ABC’s normalising asset quality, with non-performing loans reduced to 3.4% of total loans at year-end 2021, compared to 5.2% the previous year, moderating to pre-pandemic levels. 

The Bank’s solid funding and liquidity profile further contributed to its improved rating. Its highly supportive principal shareholders, the Central Bank of Libya and Kuwait Investment Authority, have a long track record of stability throughout economic cycles and market stresses, which also mitigates the Bank’s exposure to concentration risk. 

Commenting on the rating upgrade, Dr. Khaled Kawan, Group Chief Executive Officer, Bank ABC said: “This outlook upgrade and affirmation of our ratings demons​trates the success of the prudent capital and liquidity management approach of the Bank, as it continues to expand its business model and pursue its strategic aspirations.”

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