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Fitch acts on Tunisian leasing, factoring companies

Fitch Ratings on Dec. 12 took various ratings actions on eight Tunisia-based leasing and factoring companies.

The rating agency upgraded Union de Factoring's national long-term and national senior unsecured debt ratings to BB+(tun) from BB(tun) and affirmed its B(tun) national short-term rating. Meanwhile, Tunisie Leasing & Factoring SA's national long-term and national senior unsecured debt ratings were downgraded to BBB(tun) from BBB+(tun) and its national short-term rating was downgraded to F3(tun) from F2(tun).

The AA+(tun)/F1+(tun) national long- and short-term ratings and AA+(tun) national senior unsecured debt rating of Arab International Lease were maintained on Rating Watch Negative, pending the outcome of negotiations entered into by France's Groupe BPCE with Morocco's Banque Centrale Populaire regarding the sale of the French group's 60% stake in Banque Tuniso-Koweitienne, which is the direct parent of Arab International Lease.

Fitch said the upgrade of Union de Factoring's national ratings reflects a reassessment of the quality of the company's management and strategy relative to peers. The downgrade of Tunisie Leasing & Factoring's national ratings, meanwhile, reflects a worsening of its asset quality ratios and profitability metrics, which Fitch said are declining sharply relative to peers, weighed down by high impairment charges.

At the same time, Fitch affirmed the BBB-(tun)/F3(tun) the national long- and short-term ratings and BB(tun) national subordinated debt ratings of Arab Tunisian Lease SA, Compagnie Internationale de Leasing SA and Société Modern Leasing. The national long-term and national senior unsecured debt ratings of Attijari Leasing SA and Hannibal Lease SA were also affirmed at BB+(tun) and BB(tun), respectively, while both firms' national short-term ratings were affirmed at B(tun).

The outlooks on the national long-term ratings of Arab Tunisian Lease, Attijari Leasing, Compagnie Internationale de Leasing, Hannibal Lease, Société Modern Leasing, Tunisie Leasing & Factoring and Union de Factoring are stable.