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Moody's upgrades Carige after bank completes capital strengthening, de-risking

Moody's upgraded Banca Carige SpA's baseline and adjusted baseline credit assessments to "caa1" from "ca" and its long-term issuer rating to Caa2 from Caa3, with the outlook on the long-term rating changed to stable from rating under review.

The action follows the completion of the bank's planned €700 million capital increase, disposal of €2.8 billion gross problem loans, and issuance of €200 million subordinated debt.

The agency also confirmed the bank's B2(cr) long-term counterparty risk assessment, B3 long-term local- and foreign-currency counterparty risk ratings, and Caa1 long-term local- and foreign-currency bank deposit ratings. The outlook on the long-term local- and foreign-currency bank deposit ratings was revised to stable from rating under review.

Moody's affirmed the bank's Not Prime(cr) short-term counterparty risk assessment, Not Prime short-term local- and foreign-currency counterparty risk ratings, and Not Prime short-term foreign-currency bank deposit rating.

The first tranche of the new shares worth 313.2 million was issued for the voluntary intervention scheme of the Italian interbank deposit fund, while the second one worth €63 million was subscribed for by Cassa Centrale Banca Credito Cooperativo Italiano SpA. Existing shareholders took up €22.8 million of the €85 million tranche reserved for them, with the remaining €62.2 million subscribed for by the Italian interbank deposit fund, which also subscribed for the fourth tranche of €238.8 million.

The €200 million of new subordinated bonds were issued and settled, with the bonds entirely subscribed for by institutional investors.

The Italian bank confirmed that it now exceeds the threshold required for admission to trading set by Borsa Italiana of a 10% free float.

Also finalized was the disposal of a nonperforming loan portfolio, with a gross book value of approximately €2.8 billion, to Italian state-owned bad debt manager AMCO - Asset Management Co. SpA at a price of €1 billion.

Carige said it will return to ordinary administration by the end of January 2020, with the ordinary shareholders meeting to be convened Jan. 31, 2020.

Studio Gatti Pavesi Bianchi acted as legal adviser to Banca Carige on the capital strengthening plan. UBS Europe provided assessment of strategic alternatives, and Boston Consulting Group acted as industrial adviser.