Azerbaijan’s Largest Private Bank Expects Rating Improvement Despite One-sided Policy of International Rating Agencies

Business Materials 24 January 2008 18:54 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 24 January / Trend corr I. Khalilova / Bank Standard, the leading private bank in Azerbaijan, is preparing for signing an agreement with international rating agency Fitch Ratings in order to be issued the second rating appraisal, the bank's First Deputy Chairman of the Board Javid Guliyev said at a press conference dedicated to the results of the bank's activities in 2007.

According to Guliyev, that will be at least a Moody`s rating and it will be renewed in the second quarter of the year. In 2-3 months, the first appraisal will be issued by Fitch.

As the Azerbaijani banks do not have the risks and problems with which the financial system of a range of developing countries faced as a result of world liquidity crisis, renewal of the bank's rating will leave out the rating agencies' plans on re-consideration of law ratings," Guliyev said.

Last year Moody`s issued Bank Standard a В1 rating on short-term and long-term deposits, as well as financial steadiness rating Е+. According to the appraisal, the cause to issue Bank Standard the highest rating among the Azerbaijani private banks was the bank's strengthening positions, its considerable stocks, good profitability and good growth potential in the rapidly developing banking sector of Azerbaijan. Presently, the market stocks of the bank make up some 10%.

The intension to be issued two ratings is caused by the bank's plans to issue Eurobonds in 2008 in the sum of $100mln. The bank will enter the international capital markets after the leader of the Azerbaijani banking system - the International Bank of Azerbaijan - issues sovereign Eurobonds and holds primary placement of its bonds.

Besides borrowing through Eurobonds, Bank Standard also plans to receive credits from the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank in 2008. In 2007, the bank received a club credit in the sum of $24mln in June, a syndicated credit in the sum of $48mln in December and $3mln from the Islamic Development Corporation.

Credit portfolio of the bank increased by 86% in 2007 and totaled AZN 406.7mln.