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CariCRIS reaffirms ratings for RBL’s $1b bond issue

Published: 
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Caribbean Information and Credit Rating Services Ltd (CariCRIS), the Caribbean regional credit rating agency, has reaffirmed the ratings of CariAA+ (Foreign Currency Rating) and CariAA+ (Local Currency Rating) on the regional rating scale, and ttAA+ on the T&T national scale to the debt issue of the size of $1 billion of Republic Bank Ltd (RBL). These ratings indicate that the level of creditworthiness of this obligation, adjudged in relation to other obligations in the Caribbean and within T&T is high, said the rating agency in a statement issued yesterday.

The ratings of RBL continue to reflect the bank’s strong market position in T&T (T&T), Barbados, Grenada and Guyana. Further supporting the ratings is the healthy resource base marked by a high proportion of retail deposits and geographical diversity, comfortable capitalisation reflected in good coverage of total assets and high capital adequacy ratios. RBL maintained comfortable profitability measures in FY20131, albeit at lower levels relative to the prior year, given the challenging regional macroeconomic environment. Additionally, the Bank is likely to receive support from the Government of the Republic of T&T (GORTT) in the event of a crisis due to its systemic importance as well as GORTT’s interests in the Clico Investment Fund (CIF). 

“Tempering the ratings is the relatively weak asset quality in two of its subsidiaries, though at the Group level, asset quality remains comparable to its peers. Loan loss provision coverage declined to 37.2 per cent in FY2013, which is below the domestic average, but exceeds 100 per cent if the general contingency reserve account is included, read the statement. 1. The financial year runs from October 1 to September 30. 2. Credit ratings place much more emphasis on cashflow-based assessments as opposed to security-based assessments. Consequently, timely payments take precedence over ultimate payments. RBL is among the leading banking groups in the region with a history of 175 years and a presence in five countries.