Sept 16, 2012 (LBO) – Fitch Ratings has confirmed an ‘AAA(lka)’ rating of Sri Lanka’s HSBC branch with a stable outlook, citing support from its parent, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited. HSBCSL’s National Long-Term Rating is at the highest end of the National Rating scale. A downgrade of HSBCSL rating could result from HKSB’s rating falling below Sri Lanka’s IDR. Any changes to Fitch’s expectation of support from HKSB could be negative for the rating.
Management indicates that although Sri Lanka is not among HSBC’s 22 priority markets, as an important network market, HSBC is committed to investing in Sri Lanka.
Fitch expects the pace of lending at HSBCSL to remain close to the 23% credit ceiling imposed by the regulator. Lending remains largely to corporates (70% of loans at end-2011) reflecting the branch’s traditional focus. The remainder comprises the non-corporate sector that includes credit cards (13%).
The branch’s gross non-performing loan (NPL) ratio decreased to 2.5% at end-H112 and end-2011 from 3.6% at end-2010, reflecting an improved operating environment alongside close credit monitoring. HSBCSL’s provisioning policy is conservative, with specific provision cove