Bank of Valletta plc - Rating Upgrade

Fitch Ratings, the international credit rating agency, changed Bank of Valletta's outlook to 'stable' from 'negative'. At the same time, the agency has affirmed all the Bank's ratings, namely, Long Term A-, Short Term F2, Individual C and Support 2.

The rating action reflects Fitch's acknowledgement of the slow but steady improvement of BOV's asset quality indicators since 2002 when the bank suffered significant asset quality ratios deterioration due to an overhaul of its loan classification system to meet the requirements of the Malta Financial Services Authority.

The long-term, short-term and individual ratings reflect BOV's position as the largest bank within the Maltese financial system, its improving profitability and its sound capitalisation. However, they also take into account the challenge of reducing doubtful loans and its low reserve coverage of these loans by international standards.

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