Incline Downwards


It came as it had to come – there is news about this rating, reported today: The credit rating agency S&P Global Ratings today announced that they are confirming Samhällsbyggnadsbolaget i Norden AB (publ)’s investment grade rating BBB- and outlook has been updated to negative from stable. SBB has BBB-rating with positive outlook from Fitch Ratings and BBB rating with stable outlook from Scope Ratings.

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

It Happened the Way it Had To

Actions, Assets, Repairs

The news is not entirely unexpected, as this company became a case for RATING©REPAIR some time ago (see here). Samhällsbyggnadsbolaget i Norden AB (publ) (SBB) is now taking measures to prevent the credit rating from slipping after all.

Now the company is selling two properties in Norrtälje for an agreed property value of approximately SEK 150 million to the real estate company Genova. The properties that are sold are mixed properties containing a practical high school and light industry / warehouse. The properties have an estimated net operating income of approximately SEK 7.2 million, says the company, the average remaining contract period is approximately 4.3 years.

“Our main focus is to achieve a higher credit rating and this sale of non-core holdings in line with book values ​​further contributes to our opportunities to strengthen the balance sheet,” says Oscar Lekander, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Samhällsbyggnadsbolaget i Norden AB.

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

To Say Goodbye to Russia, There Is Still an AAA


A Russian rating agency is avoiding the issue of banks withdrawing from Russia.

The Russian Analytical Credit Rating Agency ACRA affirms the AAA(RU) credit rating to SEB BANK JSC with a stable outlook: “The credit rating of SEB Bank JSC is based on the very high likelihood of extraordinary support from the parent company. SEB Bank’s standalone creditworthiness assessment (SCA) stems from its strong capital position, adequate risk profile and liquidity and funding assessments, and its adequate business profile.”

ACRA recognizes SEB Bank as one of the hundred largest Russian banks: “The Bank is wholly owned by its parent bank, which is the parent company of one of the largest financial groups in Europe (hereinafter, the Group, the Supporting Entity, or the SE). The Bank offers comprehensive services and lending to Russian subsidiaries of clients of the Group, whose parent companies are located in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Germany and other Western European countries. The Bank also operates in the interbank and foreign exchange markets.”

SEB continuously focuses on improving the Group’s rating, since a high rating over time implies lower funding costs and more business opportunities in the international capital markets. “SEB is rated by Fitch, Moody’s and S&P Global. Moody’s also rates SEB’s covered bonds”, writes SEB on its website. The following table shows the current rating of SEB as shown on

 Fitch RatingsMoody’s Investors ServiceS&P Global
Stand-alone ratingaa- (viability rating)a3 (baseline credit assessment)A
Issuer credit rating
AT1 instrumentsBBB+Baa3 (hyb) 
T2 subordinated debtABaa1BBB+
Senior non-preferred debtAA-A3 (junior senior)A- (senior subord)
Senior unsecured debtAAAa3A+
Counterparty ratingAA(dcr)Aa2/Prime-1AA-
Counterparty risk assessment Aa2(cr)-Prime-1(cr) 

There are other credit rating agencies providing credit ratings for SEB, which are currently ignored in this table provided by SEB, such as Scope Ratings. Scope rates SEB on a subscription basis. Likewise, the credit ratings of the Russian rating agency ACRA, which concern the subsidiary in Russia, are not reported.

SEB in Russia

“We provide our home market corporate banking and financial institution clients with a wide range of services from our offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg” writes SEB on its group website ( But: “Under the current conditions it is not viable for SEB to maintain operations in Russia, and SEB has therefore started scaling these down. This will be done in a responsible and orderly manner and in accordance with regulatory and legal obligations.”

Key assumptions in ACRA’s reasoning for a AAA credit rating are:

  • The current ownership structure and operational control by the Supporting Entity remaining unchanged;
  • The Bank maintaining the current business model, and its operational performance and loan portfolio quality remaining unchanged.

At best, the ACRA report makes this subtle reference to the bank’s intention to discontinue its business in Russia:

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Russia’s Credit Rating Hinges on Tougher Sanctions


Possible sanctions attract the attention of credit analysts.

Russia’s credit outlook could be adversely affected by specific Western sanctions, in the event of a failure to defuse the crisis over Ukraine, says Levon Kameryan, Senior Analyst, Sovereign and Public Sector Ratings, and looks at the cumulative impact of existing and potentially stronger future sanctions, a concern for the country’s credit outlook: “A comprehensive package of sanctions has the potential to disrupt Russian exports,” writes Levon Kameryan, “further discourage foreign and domestic investment, which the country needs for sustainable economic growth, and push up government borrowing costs – at least at the margin.”

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Third Bond from Photon Energy N.V.

Actions, Reports

The third bond from Photon Energy N.V., a family-run, listed Dutch developer and operator of solar power plants for its own electricity production and for third parties, is new to the URA observation.

“In addition,” adds Jens Höhl, Managing Director of URA Research GmbH, “there have recently been activities such as electricity storage and water treatment.” Photon III – like the partially exchanged 2nd bond (2017/2022, still EUR 24 million outstanding) – received 1 “URA Check”.


The analysts at URA Research see the following strengths:

  • The main source of sales is electricity generation: a stable cash flow with mostly government-guaranteed long-term terms.
  • Unusually detailed quarterly financial reports (but only in English) and increase of the interest coupon by a high 1% if the self-chosen transparency obligations are violated.
  • It is a “green bond”: the sustainability in the sense of a conformity of the use of funds and reporting with the green bond principles of the ICMA was confirmed by imug rating GmbH in a second party opinion with “very good”.
  • Bonds significantly oversubscribed (green bonds strongly supported by regulatory requirements) and increased by EUR 5 million to EUR 55 million.
  • Quarterly interest payments and commitment to a minimum equity ratio (a supporting capital increase took place in 2021).


The URA Research analysts see the following weaknesses:

  • Comparatively small providers in a market with low entry barriers; broad regional presence (head office in NDL, bond in DEU, operational, mainly in Eastern Europe and Australia).
  • Great dependence on the weather as well as on government regulations and subsidies (most recently in some countries retroactive deterioration).
  • However, increased development of countries like Australia, in which solar power is competitive even without subsidies.
  • EBITDA interest coverage and net debt / EBITDA only sufficient due to low returns (e.g. rising personnel costs as advance payments in project development) as well as high financial debt and interest expenses typical of the industry.
  • The balance sheet equity was only positive as of September 30, 2021 due to a high revaluation reserve for property, plant and equipment (IFRS); the latter can also melt away quickly in the event of operational problems or rising discount rates.
  • In the last 5 years always a negative free cash flow including interest income (negative earnings after taxes in 8 of the last 10 years, very high investments in new solar power plants, especially in the last 3 years); this is unlikely to change much due to ambitious growth plans (including seven-fold increase in the output of their own power plants by the end of 2024) despite the planned five-fold increase in Group EBITDA.
  • The issuer is a pure holding company with no operational business. In order to serve the bondholders, it is therefore dependent on the interest payments for the shareholder loans granted (and their repayment) as well as on distributions from the around 120 subsidiaries. The latter have high bank liabilities with numerous “financial covenants” (in some cases including distribution limits); most of their assets are pledged to banks.

After the Raid on the Ministry of Finance


SPD candidate for Chancellor Olaf Scholz is under pressure

The “governance” criterion plays an important role in ESG ratings for states. Not only credit ratings are influenced by good governance. Finance ministries have a crucial role in this.

The Osnabrück public prosecutor’s office searched the Federal Ministry of Finance in Germany this week. The Federal Ministry of Justice was also in the sights of the investigators. The background to this is an investigation against those in charge of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), a special unit of customs against money laundering.

As “Spiegel” reports, German weekly news magazine published in Hamburg, there is a suspicion of thwarting punishment in the office. The FIU allegedly failed to properly forward money laundering reports from banks to law enforcement authorities.

“The FIU is a bunch of chaos. Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has not got the business under control in the past four years. That is his responsibility,” said FDP financial expert Frank Schäffler, commenting on the events.

The conditions are alarming and particularly relevant in light of the fact that the Federal Minister of Finance is currently applying for chancellorship in Germany in the federal election campaign.

A Supermarket Portfolio Not so Super

Actions, Reports

A B (Single B) is shown on the Expo rating scale. In his Investmentcheck-News KW 36/2021, Stefan Loipfinger comes to a different conclusion, mainly due to the lack of willingness to provide information.

The Exporo classification measures the relative risk using important criteria that are of great importance when making an investment decision in the real estate sector. Points are awarded for six criteria – the more points, the higher the assessed risk. “It should be noted”, warns Exporo, “that the Exporo class represents a strong simplification of complex relationships and under no circumstances can all the risks that a property or a real estate project entails be considered. Investors should therefore not use the Exporo classification as the basis for their decision.”

“The supermarket portfolio” are securities without sales prospectus (WIB according to §3a WpPG or PRIIP). The capital is passed on to Wohninvest Holding GmbH. The project company 1, the WI Objektgesellschaft 100 GmbH & Co. KG, the project company 2, the WI Objektgesellschaft 82 GmbH, the project company 3, the WI Objektgesellschaft 84 GmbH & Co. KG and the project company 4, the WI Objektgesellschaft 98 GmbH & Co. KG the borrower to the Wohninvest group of companies. The project companies are planning to carry out renovation measures on the respective properties.

Exporo sees a “very experienced developer (Wohninvest Group) with whom Exporo has already successfully financed 12 projects, 6 of which have already been repaid.” Here are more of Exporo’s “keyfacts:

  • The traditional food retailing market is stable and, according to the Retail Real Estate Report, properties with a focus on local supplies are in great demand.
  • Established and strong tenants with constant cash flow who did not suffer any losses during the pandemic.
  • Rents are at market level and the leases are indexed; average lease term is 8 years.
  • Well-maintained condition of the portfolio; Necessary maintenance measures on the objects are factored in.
  • Abstract acknowledgment of debt in the amount of the loan.

In Stefan Loipfinger’s view, the documents provided are not sufficient for a qualified investment decision. In the opinion of Investmentcheck, in addition to the investor information sheet in accordance with Section 13 of the VermAnlG, further documents with the information of a sales prospectus as defined in Section 7 of the VermAnlG should be made available.

Investmentcheck transparency rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Investmentcheck has published the company’s answers: “Thank you for your request. When presenting the existing properties and financing projects on our platform, we attach great importance to transparently providing all information that investors need for their investment decision. This information can be found publicly for each project on the respective detail page on our platform. I would therefore like to ask for your understanding that we cannot answer the standardized inquiries due to the considerable additional work involved ”.

Accordingly, “willingness to provide information” and “placement numbers” did not receive a single star at

Failsafe Test Case to Be Averted

Actions, Authorities

Transactions of Lang & Schwarz Aktiengesellschaft are the subject of a tax audit, reports the company in a publication of inside information in accordance with Article 17 of Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014.

The subject of the tax audit is an examination of the business of Lang & Schwarz Aktiengesellschaft in the financial years 2007 to 2011 in connection with investigations under criminal tax law. In the investigation, Lang & Schwarz Aktiengesellschaft is the addressee of a request for information and disclosure. This involves the persons responsible at Lang & Schwarz Aktiengesellschaft on suspicion of unlawful offsetting or reimbursement of unpaid capital gains taxes and solidarity surcharges in share transactions on the dividend date.

Lang & Schwarz Aktiengesellschaft plays a crucial role in trading so-called “wikifolios“. Each wikifolio can, if it meets certain criteria, serve as a fictitious reference portfolio to which a wikifolio index refers.

Lang & Schwarz Aktiengesellschaft issues endless index certificates on the wikifolio index. These endless index certificates are traded on the Stuttgart Stock Exchange and can be bought and sold at almost all banks and online brokers via the Stuttgart Stock Exchange or directly from Lang & Schwarz.

Wikifolio certificates are secured. “That means,” writes wikifolio Financial Technologies AG, “defaults from an issuer risk generally associated with investments in certificates are largely hedged.” The market capitalization of Lang & Schwarz Aktiengesellschaft is currently well below half a billion euros, which affects the susceptibility to short-seller attacks. These in turn could influence the company’s credit rating.

Therefore, investors in wikifolio certificates must take into account the unlikely but possible event that a test case of the fail-safe protection of the certificates could occur.

close up of human hand

Artec Technologies Upgraded


Artec technologies AG (ISIN DE0005209589) is once again awarded an eligibility status for central banks by the Deutsche Bundesbank as part of the current creditworthiness analysis.

“The credit rating is comparable to an investment grade rating from Standard & Poor’s according to the S&P’s rating scale, the credit rating for artec has been raised from BBB- (Triple B Minus) to BBB (Triple B)”, reports the company.

The balance sheets for the past three years form the basis for the credit check by the Deutsche Bundesbank. In addition, the company-specific circumstances, the current company development and the future potential are also included in the assessment. “The positioning in the competition is also analyzed”, emphasizes artec technologies.

The core of the creditworthiness analysis was the 2020 annual financial statements. During this period, artec technologies developed positively and met the forecasts. In principle, artec plans to continue its growth path in 2021 and beyond. AI-based solutions for security authorities and the media industry should continue to be the growth drivers of artec in the future.

businessman man suit people

German Authority Gives No Mercy to Insider Trading

Actions, Crime

On January 27, 2021, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) reported an employee of the securities regulator to the Stuttgart public prosecutor on suspicion of insider trading. The employee had sold structured products with the underlying Wirecard AG on June 17, 2020. On June 18, 2020, Wirecard AG made public that it was not yet possible to obtain sufficient audit evidence about the existence of bank balances in trust accounts totaling 1.9 billion euros. The financial supervisory authority had discovered the suspicion as part of their special evaluation. BaFin immediately fired the employee and initiated disciplinary proceedings.

BaFin tightened the compliance rules for its employees’ private securities transactions in mid-October 2020. Speculative financial transactions, i.e. short-term trading, for example with derivative financial instruments or stocks, have no longer been possible since then.