Secteur bancaire : Moody’s procède au « Downgrade » de la MCB, de la SBM et de l’Absa

4 months, 2 weeks ago - March 11, 2021
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La raison : « The main driver for today’s rating actions is the increasingly difficult operating environment for banks in Mauritius »

En dépit des garanties de la Banque de Maurice et de la Mauritius Bankers’ Association (MBA) au sujet de la résilience des banques, Moody’s Investors Service n’a pas tardé à procéder au Downgrade du Rating des banques opérant à Maurice. Ainsi, les trois plus importantes banques commerciales du pays, à savoir la Mauritius Commercial Bank, l’Absa Bank (Mauritius) Ltd et la SBM Bank (Mauritius) Ltd, ont vu leur notation être révisée à la baisse. Dans le secteur bancaire et comme évoqué dans la dernière édition de Week-End, cette décision était attendue vu que le Sovereign Rating de l’économie a été Downgraded compte tenu des séquelles de la pandémie de Coronavirus avec le pilier de l’industrie touristique à l’arrêt depuis un an déjà principalement.

Avec l’annonce officielle d’hier après-midi, le communiqué officiel est des plus catégorique à l’effet que « Moody’s Investors Service (« Moody’s ») has today downgraded by one notch the long-term ratings and assessments of Mauritius Commercial Bank Limited (« MCB ») and Absa Bank (Mauritius) Limited (« Absa Mauritius »). As part of the same rating action, Moody’s has affirmed the ratings of SBM Bank (Mauritius) Ltd. (« SBM »). The outlooks on MCB’s and SBM’s deposit ratings are negative and the outlook on Absa Mauritius’ deposit rating is stable ».

Le motif principal justifiant l’ajustement à la baisse de la notation de ces trois principales banques est que « the main driver for today’s rating actions is the increasingly difficult operating environment for banks in Mauritius as reflected by Moody’s decision to lower Mauritius’ Macro Profile score to Weak from Moderate ». Les opérations des banques sont tributaires du tourisme et des activités connexes.

« The large share of economic activity and employment derived from tourism and related industries, which have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, will weigh on the pace of the economic recovery, constraining economic strength and banks’ operating environment », note encore Moody’s Investors Service prenant à contre-pied la campagne « Lakaz Mama » menée par la Banque de Maurice au sujet du maintien de l’Investment Grade de Maurice. Moody’s rappelle sans ambages que « the sovereign downgrade reflects the erosion of Mauritius’ fiscal and economic strength as a result of the economic shock brought on by the coronavirus pandemic ».

Pour ce qui est du Downgrade de la Mauritius Commercial Bank et de Absa Mauritius, Moody’s souligne que « the lower Macro Profile captures Moody’s view that Mauritius’ economic strength and the overall operating environment for banks is weaker, following the large loss of economic activity and income, in addition to the likely durable, long lasting effects on the tourism industry ».

Commentant le volet consacré à la MCB, Moody’s note que « to date, MCB’s profitability has weakened with net income to tangible assets dropping to 1.5% during the second half of 2020 from over 2% prior to the pandemic, primarily due to higher expected credit losses that reached MUR 7 billion as at December 2020. Nonetheless, MCB maintains strong capital levels with shareholder’s equity to assets of 10.8%, high liquid assets at 48% of tangible banking assets and a stable funding profile as of December 2020 ».

Pour la SBM Bank (Mauritius) Ltd, Moody’s est encore plus sommaire en soutenant que « the affirmation of the ratings of SBM reflects Moody’s view that the bank’s ratings already captures the weaker operating conditions following the earlier downgrade of the bank’s ratings in May 2020 ». Plus loin, le communiqué ajoute que « asset quality remains SBM’s key credit challenge, with nonperforming loans (NPLs) around 10% of gross loans, while profitability also remains weak with net income at 0.9% of tangible assets. At the same time, SBM Bank has high liquidity levels (around 50% of tangible assets), a domestic retail deposit funded profile with a low loan-to-deposit ratio, and strengthened capital levels (with shareholders’ equity at 9% of assets) as of September 2020 ».

D’autre part, Moody’s maintient que la relance du tourisme n’est pas pour demain d’autant plus que Maurice se trouve frappée de plein fouet actuellement par la deuxième vague de l’épidémie invisible. « Although the government expects tourism flows to resume in the second half of 2021, this is dependent on achieving a collective immunity for the population with more than 60% of the population vaccinated, while longer-term risks include a change in consumer behaviour that reduces demand for long-haul travel. The slow tourism recovery will weigh not only on employment and income levels for workers and corporates in the tourism sector but has also large spillovers to the rest of the economy ».

Text by Le Mauricien

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