SEB Lifts Dividend Despite Drop in 4Q Net Profit

By FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (SEB-A.SK) on Wednesday raised its full-year dividend, even as the Nordic region's largest corporate lender reported that fourth-quarter net profit fell on previously announced provisions and impairments from its ongoing reorganization.

The bank said it booked charges of 1.9 billion Swedish kronor ($240.8 million) in the fourth quarter, comprising the costs of reorganizing its German business and writing down intangible assets. SEB said that this was a result of it increasing focus on areas where it has scale and can add value, as well as simplifying processes and increasing customer convenience and accessibility.

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Chief Executive Johan Torgeby said, "we are now starting the work to set the direction for the next phase from 2019 and onwards."

"First we want to continue to deliver on the last year of our current business plan and financial targets including our cost cap of 22 billion Swedish kronor," he said.

The Stockholm-based bank posted net profit of SEK3.18 billion for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with SEK4.24 billion a year earlier, missing an average SEK3.66 billion forecast from analysts polled by FactSet.

Net interest income rose to SEK5.18 billion from SEK4.8 billion, while loan losses were lower at SEK105 million compared with SEK284 million.

The bank's common equity Tier 1 ratio--a key measure of financial strength--stood at 19.4% at the end of the quarter, up from 18.8%.

The board proposed a higher dividend of SEK5.75 a share, up from SEK5.50 in 2016.

Write to Dominic Chopping at dominic.chopping@wsj.com; @domchopping, @WSJNordics

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 31, 2018 01:49 ET (06:49 GMT)

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