Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Economics 13/05/2010: AIB's IMS blues

AIB released its Q1 2010 IMS statement:
  • It will issue 198m shares to the Government in lieu of a €280m preference coupon it will not be paying (remember the stockbrokers and the Government argued that this coupon payment will be a handsome return on our ‘investment’ in AIB?).
  • AIB, subsequently will be in for an 18.6% Government stake in the bank.
  • Some analysts are saying that the lack of dividend is due to AIB being precluded from paying cash dividends on debt instruments while its business case was under review at the EU.
  • I would say that this represents a convenient excuse. In reality, AIB simply cannot afford a €280 million pay out, given its funding conditions and given its capital requirements.
There is more farcical stuff in the IMS. AIB claims that while trading conditions remain challenging in Ireland, its UK (ex Northern Ireland), Polish and Capital Markets operations are booming. Ooops, the very family silver that AIB is going to sell to cover its bad loans in the Republic is still the only set of assets that have any positive value in AIB.

IMS confirmed that AIB will need €7.4bn in new capital, and that this based on Nama discount expected to average 45%. As AIB is shifting €23bn of the bad and the outright ugly loans to Nama, this discount might change. So no speculation here…

Aside from speculation, if AIB is hoping to get some dosh for its 22% stake in the US M&T, worth estimated $2.3bn. If this target is achieved (a big if, given that large placements like these would probably attract some discount) the sale can deliver new capital of €900mln. The target for capital raising then moves to €6.5bn. Selling Polish holdings will provide maximum of €2.4-2.6bn, assuming euro holds against zloty and assuming a discount of no more of 10% on block sales, inclusive of commissions. Of course, this means that AIB will have to write down its book value on the asset side, so that the net gain is likely to be around €1.2-1.4bn to capital side.

Which leaves us with a hole of €5.1-5.4bn to plug. The UK side of business is a sick puppy, unlikely to yield any net gain on risk-weighted assets side, but let’s be generous and give it €500mln of value. On the other hand, AIB investors are raking the dosh in… well, not really. I would expect the bank to be able to sell something to the tune of €1.2bn worth of equity at the most (its current market cap is €1.22bn as of yesterday close price). Suppose this is the net (although discounts might imply much shallower rate of capital raising). Will the Exchequer be required to pump in another €3.4-3.7bn into AIB?

But wait, this is hardly a final number. Remember, so far AIB has been assuming (in its impairments provisions) that the 2009 performance will continue into 2010. It sounds conservative, until you actually pause and think. There are serious lags on some assets deterioration and on recognition of impairments. These lags are driven by two major factors:
  1. On households and corporate loans side, impairments take time to build up. For example, an average unemployed person with job tenure of 6 years would have gotten around 36-42 weeks of redundancy (factoring in tax relief) when they lost their jobs back in the H1 2009. They might have had savings. At an average rate of saving of 5% of annual income over 6 years, that would add up to 30% annual income or another 16 weeks worth of income cushion. Again, net of tax the cushion rises to ca 19 weeks. This means that any serious distress on their mortgages will show up around 55-61 weeks after the layoffs. Guess that pushes the dateline for major stress on mortgages only starting to manifest itself to around May-July 2010.
  2. Much of the non-Nama book of commercial and development lending that will remain with AIB has been rolled up, redrawn across covenants and so on. How long will it take for these to come up for another appraisal? I’d say on average 12-24 months. So look back at 2008-2009 loans that were non-performing then and were rolled over for 12-24 months. These will start flashing red once again sometime around 2010-2011.

Neither (1) nor (2) is provided for (as far as risk capital goes) under the current €7.4bn new capital requirement. By the time the demand on these hits, AIB will have no assets left to sell. Then what?

How I know that AIB is once again has its head stuck in the sand on future impairments? Well, this morning’s IMS tells me as much. For its non-NAMA loans, AIB is expecting bad debt charges to be matching 2009 rates. IMS says that bank’s €27bn residential loans book is continuing to perform “better” than the sector averages (as if there is any meaningful average here to be had). And significantly it says that residential bad debt charges are currently not significantly different from 2009. The non-NAMA exposure to property in Ireland will be €12bn of which €9 is investment and €3bn land and development. These are still material at this stage, as any further writedowns on this part of the book are going to hit capital base again.

On the macro side of its balancesheet, AIB is still going to be a sick bank with loan to deposit ratio declining from a severely unhealthy 146% to a still unhealthy 124% post-Nama. And this is really rosy, folks. And the cost base and margins are unlikely to improve. Take for example deposits costs – AIB’s IMS highlighted the reality of high cost of attracting new deposits. Wait till Government starts hovering dosh from the punters through the new Post Office bonds. Supply of deposits will drop. And then, wait for the ECB to cut its discount window operations again, should things improve in the euro area funding markets. AIB, alongside BofI, is heavily dependent on being able to roll the collateralized borrowings from ECB. AIB’s term funding as a percentage of wholesale funding is massively up from 30% in December 2009 to 41% by end Q1 2010, reflecting a €6bn of issuance.

So can anyone explain just how on earth can AIB escape a de facto nationalization?
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