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Credit Research

Banco Santander: Truly international and relatively cheap from a relative value standpoint.
Banco Santander: Truly international and relatively cheap from a relative value standpoint. Banco Santander (Santander) has become one of the largest banking groups in Europe, thanks to a very active acquisition strategy. Although it has its root in Spain, Santander is now a global player and the Spanish market represented only 27% of its total assets, which is almost in line with the contribution of the UK (29%) and slightly higher than that of Latin America (24%) at year-end 2010. The well-balanced diversification between operation in developed countries and emerging markets has maintained the group's financial profile resilient. . . . Read More
Banco Espirito Santo: A BBB+ name too reliant on wholesale funding
Banco Espirito Santo: A BBB+ name too reliant on wholesale funding BES is a key player in Portugal's banking industry. Although it offers universal banking services, it mainly is a commercial bank serving individuals and corporate in Portugal. Its international expansion and the greater focus on operations in Africa - in oil-dependent Angola especially - has been key to the group's ability to keep decent profitability levels so far. To us, BES' credit profile is materially affected by its high reliance on wholesale funding. This issue is all the more critical as Portugal debt crisis has led to a request for an EU bail out. Bail-out terms will in turn determine funding conditions for Portuguese banks. We expect . . . Read More
Intesa Sanpaolo: A clean-up must be done!
Intesa Sanpaolo: A clean-up must be done! Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP) is a leading Italian banking group. With total assets worth EUR659bn, it is the second largest domestic player but the top bank in Italy with about 15% of total loan market shares and 17% of the country's deposits. The group posted a FY10 net profit in decline but to Feliho Finance, it is critical for the group to improve its assets quality -- a process which should take some time to materialise. In the mean time, we believe that in order to compensate the high amount of Non-Performing Loans (NPL), ISP has to strengthen its capitalisation. We have placed ISP's credit in our A+ category for now. . . . Read More
HSBC Holding PLC: The dragon has its weaknesses. AA- assigned by us
HSBC Holding PLC: The dragon has its weaknesses. AA- assigned by us Within the banking industry, HSBC Holding PLC is a worldwide heavyweight which boasts a well diversified and sustainable business profile. Although it has suffered from high impairments due mainly to HSBC Finance Corporation, its consumer finance arm in the USA, HSBC has managed to remain profitable thanks mainly to its operations in emerging markets. However, its asset quality is relatively weak albeit better than that of its domestic peers. In addition, we view the group's direct exposure to equity securities as high compared with its core equity. We are thus assigning an AA- rating to the name. . . . Read More
Barclays PLC: A+ Ratings assigned by us
Barclays PLC: A+ Ratings assigned by us Barclays posted a FY10 Profit Before Tax (PBT) which compared with that of 2009 increased by 34% to GBP 4.5bn. This material increase mainly resulted from the drop in Loan Loss Provisions (LLP). We think the group's asset quality is relatively weak and weighs on its capitalisation. In addition, given the group's strong reliance on Barclays Capital's volatile activities . . . Read More
Banco de Espana vs Moody's: Who's right?
Banco de Espana vs Moody's: Who's right? According to Banco de Espana (BDE), domestic banks need to raise additional capital for a total amount of EUR15.15bn. On the other hand, Moody's announced that Spanish banks would rather need between EUR40bn and EUR50bn additional capital to strengthen their solvency. The agency's calculations and its outlook on Spain's deficit have led . . . Read More
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