ICBC International Holdings Ltd. #s Guaranteed US$2 Billion Medium-Term Notes Program Rated #A-/A-2#

Stocks and Financial Services Press Releases Wednesday May 23, 2018 17:39
HONG KONG--23 May--S&P Global Ratings

HONG KONG (S&P Global Ratings) May 23, 2018--S&P Global Ratings today assigned its 'A-' long-term and 'A-2' short-term foreign and local currency issue ratings to a US$2 billion medium-term notes (MTN) program by Horse Gallop Finance Ltd. The issuer is a British Virgin Islands incorporated special purpose company that ICBC International Holdings Ltd. (A-/Stable/A-2) wholly owns.

ICBC International unconditionally and irrevocably guarantees the program. The guarantee constitutes direct, general, and unconditional obligations of the guarantor. These obligations rank equally with all other present and future senior unsecured obligations of the guarantor, except for certain obligations required to be preferred by law.

We consider ICBC International to be a highly strategic subsidiary of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and an indirect beneficiary of support from the Chinese government, if needed. ICBC International receives funding and capital support from the parent bank, which has supported the subsidiary with multiple capital injections, a large amount of direct credit facilities, and by guaranteeing the subsidiary's MTN issuance (through ICBC group's Hong Kong branch). ICBC International leverages on the parent's banking relationships with China's large state-owned enterprises and leading private firms.

We have equalized the ratings on the program with the issuer credit rating on ICBC International to reflect our view that the guarantee is irrevocable, unconditional, and timely, and therefore qualifies for rating substitution treatment. The issuer will use the proceeds from the program to on-lend to ICBC International and its subsidiaries for general corporate purposes.

The "Event of Default" clause under the MTN program carries a grace period of 30 days for both long-term and short-term notes. As per our "Timeliness Of Payments" criteria, we will rate the long-term notes 'D' or 'SD' if we expect payment will not be made within the stated grace period after the due date; for the short-term notes, we impute a grace period of five business days.

Index-linked notes may also be issued under the program. Under our rating criteria, we do not rate the bonds if principal payments are linked to fluctuations in equity or commodity prices, or equity or commodity indices.

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