Fitch has upgraded ratings of Halyk Bank of Kazakhstan OJSC, AMB OJSC and Bank CenterCredit OJSC (Kazakhstan)

18.04.03 00:00
/REUTERS, London, April 18, 03/ - Fitch Ratings, the international rating agency, has today upgraded the Long-term ratings of Halyk Savings Bank (Halyk) to 'BB-' ('BB minus') from 'B+', ATF Bank (ATF) to 'B+' from 'B', and Bank Centercredit (BCC) to 'B+' from 'B-' ('B minus'). The Short-term ratings of all three banks are affirmed at 'B'. Halyk's and BCC's Individual ratings are affirmed at 'D/E', as is ATF's Individual rating of 'D'. The Support ratings of ATF and BCC have been changed to '4T' from '5T'; the Support rating of Halyk is unchanged at '4T'. The Long-term ratings of Halyk, ATF and BCC are at the floors set by Fitch's view of the likelihood of state support being available in case of necessity. The upgrades are based on Fitch's opinion that they are now more likely than in the past to receive support from the Kazakh authorities, as a result of the increasing importance of the banking system to the local economy and the development of a stronger track record by the National Bank of Kazakhstan. Halyk is the third largest bank in Kazakhstan by assets and, in keeping with its roots as the former state savings bank, has the largest branch network in the country. In November 2001, the Kazakh government sold its remaining 33.3% stake in Halyk and the bank is now ultimately majority-owned by a small number of well-connected individuals representing two Kazakh business groups. ATF is the fourth largest bank in Kazakhstan by assets. However, in a banking sector dominated by three banks, it held only 6% of the system's assets at end-2002. It services the credit, FX and settlement needs of a diverse range of domestic corporates (both SMEs and larger companies) and has also been growing its retail business. BCC is one of the largest mid-sized banks in Kazakhstan, focusing on SMEs and retail customers. Again, it holds just 5% of total assets in the banking system. It has a countrywide network of branches, complemented by asset management, leasing and pension fund subsidiaries. The bank merged in 1998 with Zhilstroy Bank, a troubled state housing development bank that had itself previously merged with another problem bank, Kreditsotsbank." [2003-04-18]