Sri Lanka Fitch rates Bank of Ceylon debentures ‘AA(lka)(EXP)’

ECONOMYNEXT – Fitch Ratings Lanka has assigned Bank of Ceylon’s proposed Basel II-compliant subordinated debentures of up to eight billion rupees an expected National Long-Term Rating of ‘AA(lka)(EXP)’.

The debenture, which will have tenors of five and eight years and carry fixed and floating coupons, will be listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange.

Bank of Ceylon (BOC) expects to use the proceeds to strengthen its Tier 2 capital base and reduce asset and liability maturity mismatches, Fitch said in a statement.

The final rating is subject to the receipt of final documentation conforming to information already received.

The proposed subordinated debentures are rated one notch below BOC’s National Long-Term Rating, to reflect the subordination to senior unsecured creditors, the rating agency said.

“The issuer rating is driven by Fitch’s expectation of extraordinary support from the government of Sri Lanka (BB-/Stable).

“This stems from BOC’s high systemic importance, quasi-sovereign status, role as a key lender to government, and full state ownership. The Stable Outlook on BOC reflects the Stable Outlook on the sovereign’s rating.”

The rating on the proposed debentures will move in tandem with BOC’s National Long-Term Ratings.

Fitch said any change in Sri Lanka’s sovereign rating, or in the perception of state support to BOC, could result in a change in the ratings of BOC.

“Visible demonstration of preferential support for BOC in the form of an explicit guarantee will be instrumental to an upgrade of its National Long-Term Rating.”





(Colombo/July 17, 2015)

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