Bergen, 14 February 2020. The Sbanken group generated a profit before tax of NOK 214.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. Net interest income increased by NOK 67.0 million while net fee and commission income increased 7.5 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. Profit before tax was negatively affected by NOK 50.7 million in non-recurring items, including write-down of intangible assets, sale of non-performing unsecured loans and management severance pay.
Lending growth for the last 12 months was 2.9 per cent. At quarter-end, total customer lending was NOK 81.5 billion, compared to NOK 79.2 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018. Return on equity for the quarter was 10.0 per cent and 12.5 per cent adjusted for non-recurring items. For 2019 as a whole, the return on equity was 11.4 per cent.
· Continued improvement in net interest margin
· Strong growth in retail fund savings – 5.7 % market share
· Solid capital situation – 15.6 % CET1 ratio
· Increased dividend to NOK 1.90 per share
“This quarter, Sbanken has taken significant market share for retail fund savings and has continued the rollout of next level banking to SMEs. Sbanken is now entering a new phase with emphasis on capitalising on our strong customer portfolio through cross-sales and operational excellence. We are initiating an efficiency program and see a reduction in the total workforce by the end of 2020. Our financial targets remain unchanged and we are confident that 14.0 per cent return on equity is in reach by 2022,” says Øyvind Thomassen, CEO of Sbanken.
Net interest income increased to NOK 429.1 (362.1) million, primarily as a result of improved net interest margin. The net interest margin for the quarter was 1.81 per cent, up from 1.56 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Operating expenses amounted to NOK 219.8 million, negatively affected by NOK 23.5 million in write-down of intangible assets and severance pay provisions. Underlying opex was NOK 186.5 million. The net cost of losses amounted to NOK 49.8 million, of which NOK 17.4 million related to a one-off sale of a non-performing portfolio. Loan loss ratio for the quarter was 0.24 per cent and underlying loss ratio was 0.16 per cent.
At the end of the quarter, Sbanken had a CET1 capital ratio of 15.6 per cent, up 0.6 percentage points from the previous quarter, a Tier 1 capital ratio of 17.5 per cent, and a total capital ratio of 19.9 per cent. The capital ratios are based on proposed dividend, thus including 70.1 per cent of net profit for 2019.
“The outlook for Norwegian economy is sound and Sbanken is uniquely positioned to capitalise on the opportunities that lie ahead with the initiatives we now are launching”, Thomassen concludes.
A detailed financial report for the group and for Sbanken ASA is attached to this notice. The report for the wholly-owned subsidiary, Sbanken Boligkreditt AS, is distributed separately.
Jesper M. Hatletveit, Head of IR, Sbanken ASA, +47 959 40 045
Henning Nordgulen, CFO, Sbanken ASA, +47 952 65 990
Kristian K. Fredheim, Head of Communications, Sbanken ASA, +47 924 47 407
About Sbanken ASA
Sbanken is the Norwegian customers’ favourite bank. On behalf of all Norwegian customers, Sbanken challenges and innovates around the clock, and does not hesitate to pick a fight. The bank is fully digital, without branches, and is headquartered in Bergen. The bank offers a comprehensive range of financial products and services to individuals, households, and SMEs. Today, the bank has over 460 000 customers, close to 400 employees, and offers all products and services directly through its digital platform, which is available on a broad range of user devices. As of 31 December 2019, Sbanken had total assets of NOK 93.0 billion. For more information, see sbanken.no/ir.
This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to Section 5-12 the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.