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S&P ups CABEI's outlook on rising importance to Central America

S&P Global Ratings on July 11 revised its outlook onBanco Centroamericano deIntegración Económica, or CABEI, to positive from stable as aresult of the bank's increasing importance to the Central American region andsigns of strengthening shareholder relationships.

At the same time, S&P affirmed the bank's long- andshort-term foreign currency issuer credit ratings at A/A-1.

Following the approval of a new constitutive agreement,Panama and the Dominican Republic increased their stakes in CABEI and bothcountries have together pledged to inject $98.2 million into the bank duringthe next four years, the rating agency noted.

"The positive outlook reflects CABEI's recent effortsin expanding its membership base, increasing its paid-in capital, and reducingthe country concentration in its loan portfolio," S&P credit analystDelfina Cavanagh said. As a result, the rating agency has improved itsassessment of the company's business profile to strong from adequate.

CABEI was founded in 1960 by its five original membercountries of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

S&P Global Ratingsand S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.