The following statement was released by the rating agency:
Oct 20- Fitch Ratings has affirmed Access Bank Plc's Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) and assigned a Positive Outlook, following the bank's acquisition of Intercontinental Bank Plc (Intercontinental). Access's ratings have been removed from Rating Watch Positive (RWP). A full rating breakdown is at the end of this release.
The Positive Outlook reflects the potential upside to the bank's ratings once it has fully absorbed Intercontinental. Fitch considers that the absorption of Intercontinental may support Access's developing franchise and enhance its systemic importance. Intercontinental has a large deposit franchise, supported by a branch infrastructure of about 366 branches at end-December 2010.
Established in 1989, Access is a mid-sized, Nigeria-listed bank. Historically, it has had a wholesale banking focus, while its retail franchise continues to develop. Access has received approval-in-principle for a commercial banking licence with international authorisation in terms of the new Central Bank of Nigeria guidelines.
The rating actions are as follows:
Long-term foreign currency IDR: affirmed at 'B-', Positive Outlook, off RWP
Short-term foreign currency IDR: affirmed at 'B'
Viability Rating: affirmed at 'b-'
Individual Rating: affirmed at 'D/E'
Support Rating: affirmed at '5', off RWP
Support Rating Floor: affirmed at 'NF'
National Long-term Rating: affirmed at 'BBB-(nga)', off RWP
National Short-term Rating: affirmed at 'F3(nga)', off RWP