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Fitch downgrades Ahli Bank's viability rating

Fitch Ratings on June 7 downgraded Ahli Bank SAOG's viability rating to "bb+" from "bbb-" and affirmed the bank's BBB-/F3 long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings, among other actions on six Oman-based lenders.

The agency said the downgrade reflects Ahli Bank's weaker funding profile relative to its peers, particularly its high reliance on wholesale funding and high deposit concentration.

Fitch also affirmed the BBB-/F3 long- and short-term foreign-currency issuer default ratings of National Bank of Oman SAOG, Bank Sohar SAOG and Bank Dhofar SAOG. The viability ratings of National Bank of Oman, Bank Sohar and Bank Dhofar were affirmed at "bbb-," "bb" and "bb+," respectively.

The agency affirmed the long- and short-term foreign-currency issuer default ratings of Bank Muscat SAOG and and HSBC Holdings Plc unit HSBC Bank Oman SAOG at BBB/F3 and A-/F1, respectively. The viability ratings of Bank Muscat and HSBC Bank Oman were affirmed at "bbb" and "bbb-," respectively.

The support ratings and support rating floors of National Bank of Oman, Ahli Bank, Bank Dhofar and Bank Sohar were affirmed at 2 and BBB-, respectively, while HSBC Bank Oman's support rating was affirmed at 1. Bank Muscat's support rating and support rating floor were affirmed at 2 and BBB, respectively.

The outlooks on the six banks' long-term ratings are stable.