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Fitch downgrades 11 Kuwaiti banks

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DUBAI, Feb 9: Fitch Ratings has downgraded 11 Kuwaiti banks’ Long- Term Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs). Their Outlooks are Stable.

The banks are National Bank of Kuwait SAKP (NBK), Kuwait Finance House KSCP (KFH), Boubyan Bank KSCP (BBY), Gulf Bank KSCP, Burgan Bank KPSC (BB), Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait KSCP, Commercial Bank of Kuwait KPSC, Ahli United Bank KSCP (AUBK), Kuwait International Bank KSCP (KIB), Warba Bank KSCP (WB) and Industrial Bank of Kuwait KSC (IBK). Fitch has also downgraded the support-driven Long- Term IDRs of NBK’s subsidiaries, NBK (International) PLC (NBKI) and NBK France SA (NBKF) and of BBY’s subsidiary, Bank of London and the Middle- East PLC (BLME).

Their Outlook are Stable. The rating actions follow a similar action on Kuwait’s sovereign rating on 27 January 2022 (see “Fitch Downgrades Kuwait to ‘AA-’; Outlook Stable” at www.fitchratings.com). The banks’ Viability Ratings (VRs) are unaffected. Fitch has withdrawn the Support Ratings (SRs) and Support Rating Floors of the 11 Kuwaiti banks and the SRs of NBKI, NBKF and BLME as they are no longer relevant to the agency’s coverage following the publication of its updated Bank Rating Criteria on 12 November 2021. In line with the updated criteria, Fitch has assigned a Government Support Rating (GSR) of ‘a+’ to NBK and ‘a’ to the 10 other Kuwaiti banks, as well as a Shareholder Support Rating (SSR) of ‘a+’ to NBKI and NBKF and ‘a’ to BLME. The IDRs of the 11 Kuwaiti banks are driven by their GSRs. The IDRs of NBKI, NBKF and BLME are driven by their SSRs. The 11 Kuwaiti banks’ Long-Term IDRs are driven by Fitch’s view of potential support from the Kuwaiti state. The GSR of ‘a+’ for NBK and ‘a’ for the 10 other banks reflect Fitch’s view of an extremely high probability of support for the banks, if needed, from the Kuwaiti authorities.

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