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Moody's acts on Monte dei Paschi, units

Moody's on Jan. 9 affirmed Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA's B1 long-term deposit and Caa1 senior unsecured debt ratings and changed the outlook on the ratings to positive from negative.

At the same time, the rating agency upgraded the Italian lender's baseline and adjusted baseline credit assessments to "b3" from "caa1," its long-term counterparty risk ratings to Ba3 from B1 and its long-term counterparty risk assessment to Ba3(cr) from B1(cr). Moody's also affirmed the bank's Not Prime(cr) short-term counterparty risk assessment and Not Prime short-term deposit and counterparty risk ratings.

Moody's said the upgrade of Monte dei Paschi's baseline credit assessment mainly reflects improvements in the lender's asset quality and funding profile, while the positive outlook on the long-term senior unsecured debt and deposit ratings reflects the possibility of a further material decline in the bank's problem loans in the medium term.

In addition, Moody's upgraded the long-term counterparty risk ratings of Banca Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena SpA, London Branch and MPS Capital Services Banca per le Imprese SpA to Ba3 from B1 and their long-term counterparty risk assessments to Ba3(cr) from B1(cr), as well as the latter's baseline and adjusted baseline credit assessments to "b3" from "caa1."

The agency affirmed MPS Capital Services' long- and short-term deposit ratings at B1/Not Prime and changed the outlook on the long-term rating to positive from negative, while both units' Not Prime(cr) short-term counterparty risk assessments and Not Prime short-term counterparty risk ratings were also affirmed.