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UPDATE 1-Mediolanum dividend to hit record low, says CEO
November 8, 2012 / 5:13 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Mediolanum dividend to hit record low, says CEO

* 2012 dividend well below 50 pct - CEO

* Payout to be at least 50 pct in 2013

* 9-month net profit up 380 pct year on year (Adds CEO comments, background)

By Maria Pia Quaglia and Stephen Jewkes

MILAN, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Italy’s Mediolanum will this year offer the lowest dividend payout ratio in the asset manager’s history as fallout from the euro zone crisis catches up with it, its founder said on Thursday.

Dividend payouts, or the portion of net earnings distributed as dividend, have been at a historical high among asset managers, with rival Banca Generali giving back about 75 percent of its net profits to shareholders.

Mediolanum, which has former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi as a major shareholder, proposed on Thursday to pay an interim dividend of 0.10 euros a share.

“The 2012 payout will be the lowest in our history, well below 50 percent,” Mediolanum Chief Executive and founder Ennio Doris told Reuters in a phone interview after quarterly results.

“But next year we hope to be able to offer at least 50 percent,” he added.

In 2011 Mediolanum’s net profit fell 70 percent, hit by writedowns on Greek bonds and other assets. The group had previously made dividend payouts of between 50 and 60 percent.

Earlier on Thursday the asset manager said that nine-month net profit was nearly five times higher than a year ago after attracting new funds from clients in Italy and abroad despite Europe’s deep financial crisis.

Net profit in the period stood at 291.5 million euros ($371.8 million), partly hit by a writedown Mediolanum took on its stake in investment bank Mediobanca.

Doris said there would be no more writedowns on the 3.38 percent Mediobanca stake this year.

The Mediolanum chief executive also said that Mediobanca shareholders were not unhappy with the performance of the bank’s CEO Alberto Nagel, who is under investigation in Milan for allegedly obstructing the work of regulators in a domestic merger deal.

“He is a very good manager and up to his job,” Doris said.

Nagel, Italy’s most powerful banker, has denied any wrongdoing. ($1 = 0.7840 euros) (Editing by Lisa Jucca and David Goodman)

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