UniCredit SpA, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA were among 34 Italian financial firms downgraded by Standard & Poor’s, after the credit-ratings firm reduced the nation’s grade last month.
UniCredit, Italy’s biggest bank, and No. 2 Intesa had their long-term ratings lowered to BBB+ from A, S&P said today in a statement.
Monte dei Paschi, the No. 3 bank, was reduced to BBB from BBB-plus. All three have a negative outlook, S&P said.
Italy’s credit rating was cut two levels to BBB+ from an A on Jan. 13 as S&P said European leaders’ struggle to contain the region’s debt crisis would complicate the country’s efforts to finance borrowings.
S&P on Friday revised its banking industry country risk assessment, known as Bicra, for Italy to group 4 from group 3, citing mounting risks.
“Italy’s vulnerability to external financing risks has increased, given its high external public debt, resulting in Italian banks’ significantly diminished ability to roll over their wholesale debt,” S&P said in a separate statement on the country’s financial industry.
“We anticipate persistently weak profitability for Italian banks in the next few years.”
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