Friday, January 1, 2016

1/1/16: Another VEB update: things are getting crunchier...

And another update to the long-running saga of VEB - Vnesheconombank - that I covered over a week ago here:

Latest rumour mill is that VEB will need "AUD24.67 billion" - which is within the range we've heard for some time already.

About the only new bits we get from Moscow are:

The key point of the VEB saga, however, is still not adding up. As covered in my post, VEB is facing some USD19.3 billion in debt maturing through 2025 with less than USD8 billion due through 2018. So why USD18 billion in capital hole, then?

Moodys note from earlier this week explained (emphasis mine):

"VEB Group's problem loans/gross loans ratio (including impaired but not overdue loans) increased to 39.3% as of end-2014 compared with 19.7% as of end-2013. Moody's estimates that the bank has already recognized a substantial portion of these problem loans and therefore further growth of problem loans should be contained. However, VEB remains highly exposed to single-name concentration risk and risks associated with its subsidiaries, particularly the Russian banks bailed out in 2008-09 and Prominvestbank in Ukraine.

Moody's notes that VEB's profitability metrics have substantially deteriorated, as reflected in its return on average assets (RoAA) ratio of -3.7% in the first half of 2015, following RoAA of -7.2% posted in 2014. ...At the same time, its net interest margin declined to 1.9% in H1 2015 relative to 2.7% in 2014, which reflected growing funding costs and an increasing problem loans.

Moody's anticipates some improvements in VEB's core profitability metrics following a normalization of Russian financial market conditions and gradual stabilization of problem loan levels. Nevertheless, VEB will not achieve breakeven over next 12-18 months due to still high provisioning charges and weak core profitability metrics.

VEB's standalone credit worthiness is also supported by its capital levels, which have historically been maintained by the government. VEB's statutory capital ratio (N1.0) was 12.4% as of H1 2015, which was higher than the regulatory minimum of 10%, which VEB has to respect due to its Eurobond covenant. Moody's notes that the government's regular capital injections have totalled around RUB559 billion in Tier 1 capital and $6 billion in Tier 2 capital since 2007. However, future capital increases may come in a less tangible form, e.g. via the provision of cheaper funding resulting in a fair value gain under IFRS, rather than through paid-up capital."

There are some EUR 9 billion worth of eurobonds issued by the VEB still outstanding.

In other words, we have a 'development bank' (not a retail bank) that is bound by 10% capital ratio, that, absent that ratio would require much less capital than USD18 billion. It will be interesting to see how Moscow can restructure capital in VEB to avoid an absolutely massive capital blackhole, but I suspect there will be some financial acrobatics involved.

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