Fitch Ratings has upgraded Hellenic Bank Public Company Limited's (HB) Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to 'B+' from 'B' and Viability Rating (VR) to 'b+' from 'b'.
The Outlook on the Long-Term IDR is stable.
The upgrade follows the completion of the acquisition of certain good assets and liabilities of Cyprus Cooperative Bank Ltd (CCB) and a EUR150 million capital increase.
Under the final terms of the acquisition, HB took on board total assets of EUR9.3 billion comprising mainly loans (EUR4 billion net), Cypriot government bonds (EUR4.1 billion) and cash (EUR1 billion), as well as customer deposits of EUR8.8 billion.
Fitch in an announcement said that the ratings of Hellenic Bank reflect its strengthened franchise and market position in Cyprus following the acquisition of CCB, which together with a capital increase, have led to an improved overall financial profile.
In particular, the bank's asset quality metrics have improved, albeit remaining weak by international standards, and longer-term profitability prospects are now better. The latter is helped by HB's larger retail business and increased pricing power as well as potential for cost and revenue synergies.