Scope Ratings has placed the A- Issuer Credit Strength Rating (ICSR) of Unicredit on review for possible upgrade, alongside the ratings assigned to the bank’s long-term senior debt (BBB+) and Tier 2 securities (BBB-). According to Scope, the rating action takes account of Unicredit’s improving credit fundamentals, notably the completion of the EUR 13bn capital increase last week.

The agency noted that over the past year Unicredit has completed a number of capital-enhancing actions, including the sale of Pioneer, Pekao and part of Fineco. Those transactions, added to the recently completed capital boost, place Unicredit on a firmer prudential and credit-risk footing in Scope’s view.

In Q4 2016, Unicredit reported a net loss of EUR 13.6bn, driven by a large provisioning effort of EUR 9.6bn. Going forward, Scope believes that Unicredit’s profitability will improve markedly, as the large provisions essentially reduce future provisioning needs.

The launch of the FINO transaction – deconsolidating EUR 17bn of bad loans – has helped Unicredit report a sharp decline in gross non-performing exposures, said the agency. These stood at EUR 56bn at the end of Q4, amounting to 11.8% of total loans. Coverage stood at 55.6%, which the rating agency flagged as being higher than most Italian peers’.

Scope also notes that the bank’s new business plan sets realistic targets in terms of capital, asset quality and profitability. In this context, the agency highlighted the success of Unicredit’s new capital issuance in attracting investor interest. To a significant extent, this is also due to the dynamism manifested by the new top management team now in place at the Italian banking group.

For the time being, Unicredit’s short-term ratings remain S-2 with Stable Outlook.

The rating agency said that the review for possible upgrade of Unicredit’s long-term ratings initiated today, and which it expects to complete in the coming weeks, will focus on the group’s strategy with respect to further asset sales (performing and non-performing). One possible outcome of this review could be a one-notch upgrade of the ratings being reviewed. 

Legal and regulatory disclosures

Information pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1060/2009 on credit rating agencies, as amended by Regulations (EU) No. 513/2011 and (EU) No. 462/2013

Responsibility
This report is issued by Scope Ratings AG, Berlin, District Court for Berlin (Charlottenburg) HRB 161306 B, Executive Board: Torsten Hinrichs (CEO), Dr Stefan Bund and Dr Sven Janssen.
The Lead Analyst for Unicredit SPA is Marco Troiano, Director.
Responsible for approving all rating actions: Sam Theodore, Managing Director.

Rating history
The rating history for each issuer and senior unsecured debt is available on the individual public rating cards. Please follow the links below:
Unicredit


The rating outlook indicates the most likely direction of the rating if the rating were to change within the next 12 to 18 months. A rating change is, however, not automatically ensured.
The ratings for Unicredit SPA were not requested by the issuers (unsolicited rating) and were prepared without participation of the issuers.

Dr. Martha Böckenfeld, the chair of the supervisory board of Scope Ratings AG is at the same time a member of the UniCredit Board of Directors as an independent non-executive Director.

Key sources of information for the rating
Website of the rated entity/issuer | Annual reports/semi-annual reports of the rated entity/issuer | performance records | Annual financial statements | Data provided by external data providers | External market reports | Press reports | other public information
Scope Ratings considers the quality of the available information on the evaluated company to be satisfactory. Scope uses information and data that it considers to be accurate and reliable. Scope cannot, however, independently verify the reliability and accuracy of such information and data.

Examination of the rating by the rated entity prior to publication
Prior to publication, the rated entities were given the opportunity to examine the rating and the rating drivers, including the principal grounds on which the credit rating or rating outlook is based. The rated entity was subsequently provided with at least one full working day, to point out any factual errors, or to appeal the rating decision and deliver additional material information. Following that examination, the ratings were not modified.

Methodology
The methodologies applicable for this rating actions “Bank Rating Methodology” (May 2016) is available on www.scoperatings.com. The historical default rates of Scope Ratings can be viewed on the central platform (CEREP) of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA): http://cerep.esma.europa.eu/cerep-web/statistics/defaults.xhtml. A comprehensive clarification of Scope’s default rating, definitions of rating notations and further information on the analysis components of a rating can be found on www.scoperatings.com.

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