PRAGUE, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Czech lender Komercni Banka reported a slightly steeper-than-expected rise in fourth-quarter net profit, and proposed a dividend of 40 crowns ($1.58) per share from its 2016 net profit attributable to shareholders.
The lender’s fourth-quarter attributable net profit rose 6.1 percent to 3.05 billion crowns ($120.65 million), slightly above analysts’ average estimate of 3.01 billion crowns, according to a Reuters poll.
Komercni Banka, majority owned by France’s Societe Generale , said on Thursday the dividend payout, which was in line with expectations, represented 55.5 percent of its 2016 profit, and that the board intended to propose a dividend payout of 60 percent of net profit to be achieved in 2017.
The lender said its 2016 profit rose 7.3 percent to 13.69 billion crowns ($541.11 million), including a one-off gain of 700 million crowns from the sale of an interest in its subsidiary, Cataps.
Komercni Banka, whose core Tier 1 capital ratio stands at 16.2 percent, said its loan book grew by 8.6 percent in 2016, while deposits grew 7.4 percent.
The export-reliant Czech economy is expected to have expanded by around 2.5 percent last year and is forecast to grow at a similar pace in 2017.
With inflation hitting its 2-percent target in December, the Czech central bank is expected to abandon its weak crown policy in the second quarter.
Komercni Banka’s cost of risk, reflecting provisions against losses from loans and investments, dropped in the quarter to 593 million crowns from 633 million in the same quarter last year.
Net banking income fell 2 percent, with net fees decreasing by 9.4 percent and net interest income down by 1 percent. ($1 = 25.2790 Czech crowns) (Reporting by Robert Muller and Petra Vodstrcilova; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Amrutha Gayathri)