May 4, 2018 / 8:35 AM / a year ago

Bank Norwegian sees earnings growth, dividends despite Q1 one-offs

OSLO, May 4 (Reuters) -

** Consumer bank Norwegian Finans Holding (Bank Norwegian) Chief Executive Tine Wollebekk said first quarter earnings were impacted by seasonal and non-recurring items, with strong underlying growth, at a presentation of results for the first quarter on Friday

** The Group’s net result in the first quarter amounted to NOK 411 million ($51.01 million), a decrease of NOK 32 million from the fourth quarter, but up from 326 million a year ago

** “We are very well positioned for continued earnings growth,” she added

** “In Norway we see the impact of the new guidelines from the FSA slowing down the total market growth to five percent in the first quarter, but we took 40 percent of that growth, so we grew much more than our market share,” the CEO said

** Chief Financial Officer Paal Svenkerud emphasised that the primary goal is to optimise growth, but “as we are entering a phase with surplus capital, we will commence a dividend program”

** “We will start by paying cash dividends, which we aim to keep at a steady level, and then we will consider share buybacks in addition to that,” the CEO added

** The company aims to propose a cash dividend of at least NOK 0.50 per share based on the company’s accounts as of June 30

** Adjusted for currency effects, loan growth increased in the first quarter, and the number of new customers increased by 83,000 to a total of 1.3 million customers by the end of the quarter

** The share price falls 6.3 percent to 90.15 Norwegian crowns by GMT 0830

** Analyst Jan Erik Gjerland at ABG Sundal Collier said results were weaker than expected, and that Norwegian Air rejecting takeover proposals from IAG probably contributed to the share price fall ($1 = 8.0566 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Camilla Knudsen, editing by Terje Solsvik)

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