Fitch affirms Dexia rating, downgrades Belgian unit

11th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Fitch Ratings agency on Tuesday kept Dexia's debt rating intact but downgraded the credit score of the banking group's Belgian unit after France and Belgium rescued the lender from collapse.

Fitch affirmed the Franco-Belgian group's long-term debt rating at "A-plus" and cut the credit score of Dexia Bank Belgium by one notch to "A".

The international ratings agency said its actions follow the restructuring of Dexia that was announced on Monday.

"In Fitch's opinion, Dexia would have defaulted if it had not benefited from state support as part of Dexia's restructuring plan," the agency said in a statement.

Belgium, France and Luxembourg decided on Monday to dismantle Dexia, the first bank to fall in Europe's debt crisis, with Belgium agreeing to pay 4.0 billion euros ($5.36 billion) to nationalise Dexia's domestic retail unit.

The three governments guaranteed the bank to the amount of 90 billion euros, with 60.5 percent for Belgium, 36.5 percent for France and 3.0 percent for Luxembourg.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Tuesday that his government will create a new bank to finance local authorities, which was Dexia's focus of operations in France.

Luxembourg said members of Qatar's royal family agreed to take over Dexia BIL, the bank's unit in the Grand Duchy. No price tag was released.

© 2011 AFP

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