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      WEDNESDAY, 30/11/2022 - Scope Ratings GmbH
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      Scope affirms series 2022-1 notes issued by CiMA Finance DAC - repackaging of project finance loans

      The secured loan participation notes (series 2022-1) relate to the repackaging of project finance loans for nine Spanish borrowers.

      Rating action

      The rating action performed by Scope Ratings GmbH (Scope) is as follows:

      Secured loan participation notes (ISIN XS2458268187), up to EUR 1,000.0m: affirmed at BBB-

      Transaction overview

      The transaction is a repackaging of project finance loans via notes issued by CiMA Finance DAC, which was incorporated in Ireland as a special purpose vehicle to issue the debt obligations under a programme arranged by Banco Santander S.A., London Branch. The transaction does not involve a true sale of the underlying loans. The issuer entered into a loan participation agreement on the original issue date (5 April 2022) with the grantor, Banco Santander S.A. (Banco Santander) while the two underlying loans part of the funded participation finance the operations of solar power and thermal plants in Spain. On 29 November 2022, the issuer and Banco Santander have entered a further loan participation under the same general terms referencing seven additional underlying loans financing the operations of onshore wind parks and solar power plants in Spain. The issuer becomes the beneficiary of the payments made under the loan participation agreements in exchange for the participation purchase price. The participation purchase price is financed through the issuance of the secured loan participation notes with a final maturity date in April 2032. Together with the notes issued at original issue date, a further issue of EUR 336,843,171 on 29 November 2022 forms the secured loan participation notes.

      Rating rationale

      The rating reflects: i) the legal and financial structure of the transaction; ii) the credit quality and recovery prospects of the underlying project finance loans; iii) the exposure to Banco Santander as grantor, swap counterparty, dealer, realisation agent, determination agent, interest calculation agent and account bank; and iv) the exposure to other transaction counterparties.

      Key rating drivers

      Underlying loans’ credit quality (positive)1. The underlying loans are of investment grade quality with predictable cash flows and a solid operating history with experienced sponsors.

      Banco Santander’s credit quality (positive)2. Banco Santander’s strong credit quality and sophisticated operations imply a low probability of financial default and low operational risk. As a transaction counterparty, the bank therefore contributes little to the expected loss of the rated notes.

      Transaction structure (positive)1. The CiMA Finance programme, established by Banco Santander, has been active since 2011 and enables the simple and efficient issuance of the notes. (ESG factor)

      Underlying loans’ dependence on regulatory regimes (negative)1. Revenues for the loans underlying the transaction are heavily reliant on regulatory regimes. Any regulatory change can therefore negatively impact the predictability of revenues.

      Early termination events (negative)1,2. The rated notes are exposed to early termination events linked to the performance of the underlying loans as well as Banco Santander’s performance in some of its roles in the transaction (e.g. grantor, swap counterparty). Such early termination events may lead to losses for the noteholders.

      Adverse consequences of Banco Santander’s default on the underlying loans (negative)1,2. A default of Banco Santander would result in a stressed environment, especially for the financial instruments linked to Spanish obligors. Scope expects the underlying loans to be valued at a significant discount to par in such an environment. Scope has classified Banco Santander’s counterparty risk materiality as excessive.

      One or more key drivers of the credit rating action are considered an ESG factor.

      Upside rating-change drivers

      Better-than-expected performance of the underlying loans. An improvement of the credit quality or recovery prospects of the underlying loans may lead to an upgrade of the notes’ rating.

      Downside rating-change drivers

      Worse-than-expected performance of the underlying loans. A deterioration of the credit quality or recovery prospects of the underlying loans may lead to a downgrade of the notes’ rating.

      Degradation of Banco Santander’s credit quality. A significant deterioration in Banco Santander’s credit quality may lead to a downgrade of the notes’ rating.

      Increasing probably of missing a principal payment. Should the credit quality of the current underlying loans deteriorate or more underlying loans become part of the charged assets, the probability of a missed payment of the notes’ principal will become higher given the passthrough nature of the rated notes.

      Quantitative analysis and assumptions

      The rating of the notes addresses only the expected loss associated with the full repayment of principal before or at final legal maturity. Scope derives expected cash flows accounting for the credit quality of the underlying loans and of Banco Santander.

      The main sources of losses for the rated notes are, in order of magnitude: i) a default of an underlying loan; and ii) a failure by Banco Santander to perform its obligations under the loan participation agreement or charged agreement. The first scenario assumes Banco Santander has not defaulted and the notes are repaid using recovery proceeds from the underlying loans minus liquidation costs. The second scenario assumes the underlying loans are still performing and the notes are repaid using disposal proceeds from the underlying loans minus liquidations costs. Scope quantified the disposal proceeds by assuming the underlying loans are sold at stressed price, based on a yield commensurate with the stressed levels observed for Spanish government bonds during the 2012 European sovereign crisis. This level of stress appropriately captures the likely distressed nature of the Spanish fixed-income markets should Banco Santander fall into financial distress. The liquidation costs include the settlement amount due under the charged agreement. Scope has used its own ratings to determine the credit quality of the underlying loans and Banco Santander.

      The rating assigned to the secured loan participation notes reflects expected losses over the instrument’s weighted average life commensurate with Scope’s idealised expected loss table. Scope calculated the notes’ total expected loss by weighing the loss given default for each scenario with its respective likelihood of occurrence.

      Sensitivity analysis

      Scope tested the resilience of the rating against deviations in main input parameters: the credit quality of the underlying loans and the credit quality of Banco Santander. This analysis has the sole purpose of illustrating the sensitivity of the rating to input assumptions and is not indicative of expected or likely scenarios.

      The following shows how the results change compared to the assigned credit rating in the event of:

      • a downgrade of each underlying loan by one notch, one notch;
         
      • a downgrade of Banco Santander’s rating by three notches, zero notches.

      Should more underlying loans become part of the charged assets, Scope expects the probability of a missed ultimate payment of principal to become higher given the pass-through nature of the rated notes.

      Rating driver references
      1. Internal information and documents of the issuer, originator and arranger (Confidential)
      2. Banco Santander’s rating assigned by Scope (Available via subscription)

      Stress testing
      No stress testing was performed.

      Cash flow analysis
      Scope Ratings performed a cash flow analysis of the transaction with the use of a bespoke tool incorporating the relevant asset assumptions, taking into account the transaction’s main structural features. The outcome of the analysis is an expected loss and an expected weighted average life for the notes.

      Methodology
      The methodologies used for this Credit Rating, (General Structured Finance Rating Methodology, 17 December 2021; Counterparty Risk Methodology, 14 July 2022), are available on https://scoperatings.com/governance-and-policies/rating-governance/methodologies.
      Information on the meaning of each Credit Rating category, including definitions of default, recoveries, Outlooks and Under Review, can be viewed in ‘Rating Definitions – Credit Ratings, Ancillary and Other Services’, published on https://www.scoperatings.com/governance-and-policies/rating-governance/definitions-and-scales. Historical default rates of the entities rated by Scope Ratings can be viewed in the Credit Rating performance report at https://scoperatings.com/governance-and-policies/regulatory/eu-regulation. Also refer to the central platform (CEREP) of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA): http://cerep.esma.europa.eu/cerep-web/statistics/defaults.xhtml. A comprehensive clarification of Scope Ratings’ definitions of default and Credit Rating notations can be found at https://www.scoperatings.com/governance-and-policies/rating-governance/definitions-and-scales. Guidance and information on how environmental, social or governance factors (ESG factors) are incorporated into the Credit Rating can be found in the respective sections of the methodologies or guidance documents provided on https://scoperatings.com/governance-and-policies/rating-governance/methodologies.

      Solicitation, key sources and quality of information
      The Rated Entity and/or its Related Third Parties participated in the Credit Rating process.
      The following substantially material sources of information were used to prepare the Credit Rating: public domain, the Rated Entity, the Rated Entities’ Related Third Parties, third parties and Scope Ratings’ internal sources.
      Scope Ratings considers the quality of information available to Scope Ratings on the Rated Entity or instrument to be satisfactory. The information and data supporting the Credit Rating originate from sources Scope Ratings considers to be reliable and accurate. Scope Ratings does not, however, independently verify the reliability and accuracy of the information and data.
      Scope Ratings has not received a third-party asset due diligence assessment/asset audit. Scope Ratings has performed its own analysis of the data quality, based on information received from the Rated Entity or Related Third Parties, which is not and should be not deemed equivalent to the performance of due diligence or an audit. The internal analysis was considered when preparing the Credit Rating and it has no impact on the Credit Rating.
      Prior to the issuance of the Credit Rating action, the Rated Entity was given the opportunity to review the Credit Rating and the principal grounds on which the Credit Rating is based. Following that review, the Credit Rating was not amended before being issued.

      Regulatory disclosures
      The Credit Rating is issued by Scope Ratings GmbH, Lennéstraße 5, D-10785 Berlin, Tel +49 30 27891-0. The Credit Rating is UK-endorsed.
      Lead analyst: Benoit Vasseur, Executive Director
      Person responsible for approval of the Credit Rating: David Bergman, Managing Director
      The Credit Rating was first released by Scope Ratings on 6 April 2022.

      Potential conflicts
      See www.scoperatings.com under Governance & Policies/EU Regulation/Disclosures for a list of potential conflicts of interest related to the issuance of Credit Ratings.

      Conditions of use / exclusion of liability
      © 2022 Scope SE & Co. KGaA and all its subsidiaries including Scope Ratings GmbH, Scope Ratings UK Limited, Scope Fund Analysis GmbH, Scope Investor Services GmbH, and Scope ESG Analysis GmbH (collectively, Scope). All rights reserved. The information and data supporting Scope’s ratings, rating reports, rating opinions and related research and credit opinions originate from sources Scope considers to be reliable and accurate. Scope does not, however, independently verify the reliability and accuracy of the information and data. Scope’s ratings, rating reports, rating opinions, or related research and credit opinions are provided ‘as is’ without any representation or warranty of any kind. In no circumstance shall Scope or its directors, officers, employees and other representatives be liable to any party for any direct, indirect, incidental or other damages, expenses of any kind, or losses arising from any use of Scope’s ratings, rating reports, rating opinions, related research or credit opinions. Ratings and other related credit opinions issued by Scope are, and have to be viewed by any party as, opinions on relative credit risk and not a statement of fact or recommendation to purchase, hold or sell securities. Past performance does not necessarily predict future results. Any report issued by Scope is not a prospectus or similar document related to a debt security or issuing entity. Scope issues credit ratings and related research and opinions with the understanding and expectation that parties using them will assess independently the suitability of each security for investment or transaction purposes. Scope’s credit ratings address relative credit risk, they do not address other risks such as market, liquidity, legal, or volatility. The information and data included herein is protected by copyright and other laws. To reproduce, transmit, transfer, disseminate, translate, resell, or store for subsequent use for any such purpose the information and data contained herein, contact Scope Ratings GmbH at Lennéstraße 5 D-10785 Berlin. 

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