June 1, 2020 / 2:15 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Kazakhstan's Halyk Bank puts 2020 targets under review

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ALMATY, June 1 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan’s Halyk Bank is reviewing its profit guidance and other targets for this year due to an uncertain business environment, but could reconsider its decision not to pay a dividend if the situation improves, it said on Monday.

“The current operating environment is too uncertain to provide any estimates of our financial performance this year at this point of time,” Halyk’s head of investor relations Mira Kasenova told a conference call.

Kazakhstan’s biggest bank by assets had previously forecast its 2020 net income at around 350 billion tenge ($859 million), up from 334.5 billion tenge last year.

But that estimate was made before the coronavirus pandemic hit Kazakhstan, prompting lockdowns and a hit to economic activity.

Last month, Halyk said it would not pay a dividend from its 2019 profit in order to create a capital buffer. But Kasenova said the lender could revisit the matter later this year.

“The payment of dividends on the bank’s retained earnings of previous years may be reconsidered in the second half of 2020 subject to economic recovery in Kazakhstan and the reduction of uncertainty in the global economy,” she said. (Reporting by Mariya Gordeyeva; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Toby Chopra and Mark Potter )

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