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Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has assigned its ‘BB-‘ senior unsecured debt rating to a 10-year, US dollar-denominated guaranteed bond issued by Kazakhstan-based Bank TuranAlem (BTA; BB-/Stable/B) through a Netherlands-based special purpose vehicle, TuranAlem Finance BV on March 11, 2004. The amount of the issue is US$300mn. The bond issue is guaranteed by BTA.

The ratings on BTA reflect its strong market position in commercial and retail banking, its relatively diversified client base in loans and deposits, and its growing retail funding base. These strengths are offset by the rapid expansion of loans in recent years, which has pressured capital and leaves BTA vulnerable to an economic downturn. In addition, the Kazakh economic and banking environment, with limited and concentrated lending opportunities, increases risks for all banks operating in the country.