ABC ratings boost


01/03/2012 09:41 AST

Fitch Ratings has upgraded Arab Banking Corporation's (ABC) long-term issuer default rating to BB+ from BB and viability rating to bb+ from bb.

The outlook on the long-term issuer default rating is stable.

The upgrades reflect ABC's strong capitalisation, comfortable liquidity position and stable asset quality indicators.

Fitch also notes ABC's resilient operating performance, including in 2011, despite significantly challenging external events.

Fitch considers it likely that one of the bank's main shareholders, the Kuwait Investment Authority, will support ABC if required while the agency also believes that the bank's majority shareholder, the Central Bank of Libya (CBL), will be willing to support ABC, the CBL's ability to do so cannot be assessed in the absence of a rating on the Libyan sovereign.

ABC's ratings are sensitive to the ongoing political uncertainty in Libya, as well as the risk of an escalation of political and social unrest in the Middle East and North Africa countries in which ABC has a presence.

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