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S&P downgrades Delta Bank on liquidity concerns

S&P Global Ratings on Jan. 23 lowered JSC Delta Bank's long-term counterparty credit rating to CCC- from CCC+ and its Kazakhstan national-scale rating to "kzCCC-" from "kzB-."

S&P noted that all the bank's ratings, including the C short-term counterparty credit rating, remain on CreditWatch, where they have been since Dec. 30, 2016, although the agency changed the implications to negative from developing.

The ratings action is based on S&P's concerns about pressures on the bank's liquidity position. Delta Bank requested support from the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan in December 2016 and the agency expected the lender to receive aid in early January 2017, but such liquidity support has not yet been provided.

S&P believes that even though the bank's current liquid assets are not substantial enough to cover all repayments by January-end, it assumes that shareholder support will allow the bank to meet those obligations.

The agency noted that shareholders have already provided 5 billion Kazakhstan tenge into the bank and plan to inject an additional 15 billion tenge in cash by Jan. 25, allowing the lender to repay a 10 billion tenge domestic bond that is due at the end of the month.

The agency expects to resolve the CreditWatch within the next few weeks, as soon as it has greater clarity on the potential support provided by the Kazakh central bank and Delta Bank's liquidity situation in the next few months.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

As of Jan. 23, US$1 was equivalent to 330.89 Kazakhstan tenge.