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Reference is made to stock exchange notice on 1 April 2020 regarding notice of Annual General Meeting item 4.2 where the Board of Directors proposed to uphold the dividend proposal of NOK 1.90 per share, equivalent to a payout ratio of 29.9 per cent of net profits for 2019. The Board considered communication received from both the Ministry of Finance and the Norwegian FSA, but also assessed the bank’s moderate payout ratio, strong capital position with a CET 1 ratio of 15.6 per cent incorporating the proposed dividend, and a conservative lending portfolio consisting of 94 per cent mortgages with average LTV of 54 per cent.
The Norwegian FSA has approached Sbanken on general grounds with a request to again reconsider its dividend proposal for 2019. In light of this, the Board of Directors has today updated its proposal to the Annual General Meeting on 24 April 2020 and recommends that dividends not be distributed at this point in time. The Board therefore proposes that the Annual General Meeting on 24 April 2020 adopts a decision to not pay dividend for 2019. If circumstances change, the Board will consider to make a proposal concerning dividend for 2019 at an extraordinary General Meeting no later than December 2020.
The Board of Directors is of the opinion that Sbanken’s fully digital business model, combined with a strong financial position is well suited to handle the effects of the outbreak of coronavirus. The bank is well aware of its social responsibilities and was among the first banks to lower lending rates with immediate effect to all customers. Currently, the bank is experiencing healthy growth momentum for home loans and only limited effects on loan losses from the virus outbreak.
Jesper M. Hatletveit, Head of IR, Sbanken ASA, +47 959 40 045
Henning Nordgulen, CFO, Sbanken ASA, +47 952 65 990
This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to Section 5-12 the Norwegian Securities Trading Act