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S&P upgrades Millennium BCP, affirms other Portuguese banks

S&P Global Ratings on Oct. 9 took ratings actions on Portuguese banks Millennium BCP, Haitong Bank SA, Banco Santander SA unit Banco Santander Totta SA, Banco BPI SA and unit Banco Português de Investimento SA.

The rating agency upgraded Millennium BCP's long-term issuer credit rating to BB from BB- and revised the outlook on the rating to stable from positive. Its long- and short-term resolution counterparty ratings were also upgraded to BBB-/A-3 from BB+/B, while its short-term issuer credit rating was affirmed at B.

The long- and short-term issuer credit and resolution counterparty ratings of Banco Santander Totta, Banco BPI and Banco Português de Investimento were affirmed at BBB-/A-3, with positive outlooks, while Haitong Bank's long- and short-term issuer credit ratings were affirmed at BB-/B, with a stable outlook.

S&P attributed the upgrade of BCP's ratings to its improved view of the Portuguese banking sector's operating environment, adding that the bank has made good progress on reducing its stock of nonperforming exposures and restoring its domestic profitability.

The stable outlook on BCP's long-term issuer credit rating indicates S&P's expectation that the bank's ratings will remain unchanged over the next 12 months, as well as its assumption that the lender will continue to reduce its problematic assets and strengthen its returns.

Meanwhile, S&P said it expects the current trend of Portuguese lenders posting positive results to continue. The agency expects Novo Banco SA, in particular, to accelerate its restructuring and steadily get back to normal, which it said will benefit the competitive landscape in the country's banking system given the lender's previously relevant market position and the latent contagion risks it posed to the sector.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings, a separately managed division of S&P Global. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings. The original S&P Global Ratings document referred to in this news brief can be found in the sources section.