Fitch Ratings has placed Housing Development Finance Corporation Bank of Sri Lanka’s (HDFC Bank) National Long-Term Rating of ‘BBB(lka)’on Rating Watch Negative (RWN).
The agency also placed HDFC Bank’s senior secured and senior unsecured debentures, rated at ‘BBB(lka)’, on RWN. The RWN reflects the risk that the state (B+/Stable), as major shareholder, will not raise the bank’s capital to meet the minimum LKR5 billion capital requirement by Jan. 1,
2018, in which case Fitch will downgrade the rating to reflect the bank’s weaker intrinsic strength.
The requirement has been in force since 2016 and Fitch would see a further delay as an indication that creditors may no longer be able to rely on sovereign support in a timely manner, notwithstanding HDFC Bank’s unchanged linkages with the state.
HDFC’s rating reflects Fitch’s expectation that the bank would receive extraordinary support from the sovereign, if required.
Fitch’s assessment captures the state’s 51% effective holding, of which the National Housing Development Authority directly owns 49%; the bank’s quasi-policy role in supporting housing-development initiatives; as well as HDFC Bank’s low systemic importance.