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Fitch reviews Mexico's ABC Capital for downgrade

Fitch Ratings on Dec. 13 placed ABC Capital SA Institución de Banca Múltiple's national long- and short-term issuer ratings of BBB-(mex) and F3(mex), respectively, on review for downgrade.

The placement reflects the Mexican bank's continued weak financial performance, including negative profitability and worsening asset quality that have had an adverse impact on capitalization ratios, the rating agency said.

ABC Capital has demonstrated a risk appetite that is higher than peers, considering its focus on segments such as housing development loans that are more sensitive to the economic cycle, Fitch added.

The company reported profits at the close of 2017 and 2018, but posted operating losses as of September 2019 due to higher credit costs linked to loan portfolio deterioration. The bank's loan book deteriorated partly as a result of efforts to diversify into noncore business segments, Fitch said, adding that the lender's nonperforming loan ratio surged to 6.8% at the end of September from less than 3% in 2016.

The ratings on ABC Capital could be lowered if the company fails to implement strategic actions in the short term to address the negative trends in its performance.