Eksportfinans downgraded

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Norway’s export finance agency Eksportfinans, owned by a banking cooperative but soon to be taken over by the state, saw its credit rating downgraded considerably this week, after news of the state takeover sunk in.

Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that rating bureau Moody’s reduced its rating from Aa3 to Ba1. Moody’s based its downgrading on the government’s decision late last week to take over the system of guaranteeing export financing for Norwegian companies and their customers.

Moody’s commented that Eksportfinans was losing its longtime monopoly on export finance and its operations would be wound down. It cut its short-term credit rating from “Prime 1” to “Not prime.”

Ekssportfinans officials had expected a downgrading, since it’s about to effectively be taken over, but said they think its business connections were surprised by the depth of the cut. An Eksportfinans spokeswoman said it was still well-capitalized with positive liquidity.

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