Fitch publishes Amana Bank’s rating of ‘BB(lka)’; Outlook Stable

7 April 2015 03:51 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Fitch Ratings Lanka has published Sri Lanka-based Amana Bank PLC’s (Amana) National Long-Term Rating at ‘BB(lka)’ with a Stable Outlook.
Amana’s rating reflects its small and developing domestic franchise, and limited track record. The bank started operations in 2011 as a Sharia-compliant bank and accounted for 0.5 percent of total banking sector assets at end-2014.
The rating also captures Amana’s relatively high risk appetite, primarily indicated through exceptionally fast growth. This has put pressure on its capitalisation and could lead to deterioration in asset quality as loans season.
Amana is entirely funded by deposits, and benefits from having current and savings accounts make up 50 percent of the deposit base. The absence of high-quality, Sharia-compliant liquid investments, such as Sri Lanka government securities, weighs on its rating. Fitch believes the bank adequately manages the currency risk stemming from foreign-currency denominated placements.
The Stable Outlook reflects Fitch’s expectation the bank will receive a material capital infusion during 2015 that will allow it to comply with regulatory minimum requirements. In addition, Fitch expects the bank to turn profitable after it posted a profit in 4Q14.
Amana’s Fitch core capital ratio declined to 14.1 percent of risk weighted assets at end-2014, from 21 percent at end-2013, largely due to the rapid expansion of its loan book. The bank needs to increase its capital base by 1 January 2016 to Rs.10 billion from the current Rs.5 billion. This is to comply with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s requirements for all licensed commercial banks.
Fitch believes that the bank’s high operating cost base and potential increase in credit costs could continue to hamper its operating profitability and internal capital generation. Its cumulative loss in 2014 was Rs.80 million, or 1.6 percent of equity.
The bank’s loan book expanded by 69 percent in 2014 (2013: 110 percent). Of the bank’s gross loans at end-2014, 54 percent were to consumers and SMEs, which, in Fitch’s view, are more vulnerable if economic conditions deteriorate, and likely to lead to an increase in the NPL ratio, which stood at 1.5 percent at end-2014.
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