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Fitch changes viability ratings of 4 UAE-based banks

Fitch Ratings on July 3 downgraded the respective viability ratings of Al Hilal Bank PJSC and National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah PSC to "b+" from "bb-" and to "bb" from "bb+", and that of Bank of Sharjah PJSC to "bb-" from "bb".

The rating agency also upgraded the rating to "bb-" from "b+" for Noor Bank PJSC.

Al Hilal Bank's viability rating was removed from Rating Watch Negative. The agency affirmed the bank's long- and short-term issuer default ratings at A+/F1, those of National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah and Bank of Sharjah at BBB+/F2 and that of Noor Bank at A-/F2. The outlook on the banks' long-term ratings is stable.

The agency also affirmed the support rating of Al Hilal Bank and Noor Bank at 1, while those of National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah and Bank of Sharjah were affirmed at 2. The agency affirmed Al Hilal Bank's support rating floor at A+, those of National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah and Bank of Sharjah at BBB+ and that of Noor Bank at A-.

The downgrade of the viability ratings reflects the banks' weakening performance and capital ratios, whereas the upgrade of Noor Bank's viability rating reflects a good track record of diversification of its business model, reduced concentration to state-related entities and a clear strategy.