July 28, 2020 / 6:10 AM / 17 days ago

UPDATE 1-BAWAG's Q2 pre-tax profit halves

(Adds details, CEO, background)

VIENNA, July 28 (Reuters) - Austrian bank BAWAG Group’s pre-tax profit halved in the second quarter as it took precautionary measures to prepare for the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Profit before tax came in at 80.8 million euros ($94.79 million) in the April-June period after 160 million euros in the previous year.

“Our business will forever be changed by the events of the past few months,” said Chief Executive Anas Abuzaakouk, referring to the health crisis.

“We have taken a general reserve of approximately 65 million euros to proactively address the macroeconomic deterioration and potential impact to our customers from the COVID-19 crisis.”

Total risk costs were 130 million euros in the first half 2020, 102 million more than last year. They will be lower in the second half, the lender said.

The fully loaded CET1 ratio, a measure of capital strength, was at 13.4% at end-June after 12.7% at end-March.

Net interest income at the retail-focused bank grew 3.3% to 227.8 million euros in the second quarter and it is expected to increase by around that much in the full year too.

The bank sees net fee and commission income decreasing by 10 to 15% in 2020 as lockdown measures result in less advisory and transactional business. Return on tangible common equity is forecast to be at around 10% this year.

BAWAG said it had based its full-year assumptions on a scenario from the European Central Bank which sees the euro zone’s gross domestic product declining by 12.6% in 2020 before growing by 3.3% growth in 2021.

It said it plans to hold its annual shareholder meeting on October 30. ($1 = 0.8524 euros) (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle Editing by Michelle Martin)

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