PRAGUE Feb 10 Czech lender MONETA Money Bank
reported fourth-quarter profit above expectations on Friday and
surprised the market with a high 9.8 crown dividend proposal.
The bank said total dividend payout, subject to approval by
shareholders, would be 5 billion crowns, which equals 123
percent of the 2016 profit of 4.05 billion.
The bank had guided for 100-110 percent payout, and analysts
in a Reuters poll had forecast on average an 8.3 crown dividend.
The proposed payout would give an 11.4 percent dividend yield at
Thursday's closing price of 86.25 crowns.
The bank said the dividend was driven by excess capital,
with CET1 capital ratio growing to 20.5 percent from 17.7
percent, above the bank's target of 15.5 percent.
"Amount of excess capital increased to CZK 5.5 bln and is
available for dividend distribution, loan book growth,
investment in intangibles," and implementing new international
accounting standards, IFRS9, the bank said in a statement.
MONETA said the dividend target for the years ahead was 70
percent, and forecast net profit of at least 3.4 billion this
Fourth-quarter after-tax income was 867 million crowns,
above forecast of 794 million but below 1.0 billion a year ago.
Fourth-quarter operating income dropped to 2.72 billion from
2.99 billion a year ago, but was also above market expectation.
The bank targets operating income above 10.3 billion this
year, down from 11.06 billion last year.
The bank entered the Prague Stock Exchange in May last year
as GE Capital gradually exited the bank. The stock has
gained 27 percent from the IPO price.
(Reporting by Jan Lopatka)