BBK, Bahrain’s pioneer in retail and commercial banking, is pleased to announce that the international ratings agency, Fitch Ratings, has upgraded the bank’s Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (LT IDR) to ‘BBB’ (with a ‘stable’ outlook) from ‘BBB-’, and has revised its Support Rating Floor (SRF) to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB-’. The subordinated debt rating of BBK has also been upgraded by one notch, mirroring the upgrade of the bank’s LT IDR. The rating actions follow a periodic review by Fitch of Bahraini banks.
Fitch noted that BBK’s LT IDR and SRF ratings are driven by support from the Bahraini Government, which is rated ‘BBB/Stable’. Fitch’s view of support for BBK is based on the bank’s systemic importance as a major retail and commercial bank in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the high propensity of the Bahraini Government to support domestic commercial banks. BBK is 32 per cent owned by the Bahraini Government.
Commenting on the ratings upgrade announcement, Mr. Abdulkarim Bucheery, BBK’s Chief Executive, said: “We are very pleased to learn of our ratings upgrades by Fitch and are most encouraged by their positive comments about the bank. We have a solid, well-established franchise and are justifiably proud of the bank’s resilient financial performance in recent years. As regards comments made by Fitch on BBK’s capital ratios, we intend to consider the possibility of a capital increase once the position in respect of Basel III minimum capital requirements for banks in Bahrain is clear.”
Fitch Ratings will publish the main findings of its review of BBK and other Bahraini banks in a report entitled: "Bahraini Banks: Key Issues and Trends". This will be available at www.fitchratings.com.