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Fitch Ratings has downgraded Togo-based Ecobank Transnational Incorporated's (BRVM:ETIT, GSE:ETI, NGSE:ETI) Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to 'B-' from 'B' and Viability Rating (VR) to 'b- from 'b'. The Outlook on the Long-Term IDR is Stable. A full list of rating actions is at the end of this rating action commentary.

 

ETI is the bank holding company (BHC) of the pan-African Ecobank Group.

The rating actions follow the continuing increase in ETI's double leverage since 2018 above the 120% threshold at which the agency consider notching the holding company's ratings down from those derived from the group's consolidated profile. Given the current economic stress in the region due to the coronavirus and our negative outlook for ETI's operating environment, Fitch believes that ETI's double leverage will remain significantly above this threshold over the rating horizon. This reflects expected lower dividend payments from subsidiaries, higher foreign-currency translation losses as well as potential further capital injections into subsidiaries.

 

The Stable Outlook reflects our view that the ETI's liquidity buffers will remain comfortable over our rating horizon to meet its financial obligations.

 

With the downgrade of the Long-Term IDR, Fitch has accordingly downgraded ETI's senior unsecured debt to 'B-' from 'B'. ETI's VR downgrade is based on the notching of its VR from the group's consolidated assessment.

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