Capital Intelligence Ratings (CI) has affirmed the ratings of Attijari Bank (AB), based in Tunis, Tunisia. AB’s Financial Strength Rating (FSR) is affirmed at ‘BB’, supported by its solid liquidity (particularly in the context of the Tunisian banking sector), sound profitability, and good loan asset quality compared to that of the sector – although the non-performing loan (NPL) ratio is high by international standards.
The rating is constrained by the Bank’s somewhat modest level of risk-weighted capital and the challenging operating environment. AB’s Long-Term Foreign Currency Rating (FCR) is maintained at ‘BB’ and the Short-Term FCR at ‘B’.
The Outlook for all the ratings is ‘Stable’. The Support Rating is maintained at ‘3’, based on the support of the Moroccan parent – Attijariwafa Bank − and the opinion that further support, if needed in the future, would be forthcoming.
AB, Tunisia’s sixth largest bank by assets, holds a sound financial profile relative to the peer group due to better loan asset quality, a relatively good level of liquid assets, and solid profitability. Operating profit was flat in 2015 but returns for this metric remained sound;
net interest income was squeezed in 2015 due to higher interest expense, with the latter reflecting a greater volume of customer deposits and improved liquidity.