Poland's Alior Bank plans first dividend after record profit

Credit: REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

By Mateusz Rabiega

GDANSK, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Polish lender Alior Bank ALRR.WA said on Wednesday it planned to earmark 570 million zlotys ($143.29 million) for its first-ever dividend payout, after its annual net profit nearly tripled.

"DPS (dividend per share) may reach 4.4 zlotys, which would imply a dividend yield of 5%," Erste Group analyst Lukasz Janczak said. "Overall, we expect a positive market reaction."

Alior Bank shares opened 1.1% higher and were 1.0% up at 0921 GMT.

Alior, which made its market debut in late 2012, has never paid a dividend but haspreviously said that it aimed to pay a dividend in 2023 or 2024.

Annual net profit, boosted by high net interest rates and lower provisions for expected credit losses, surged to 2.03 billion zlotys from 683.1 million in 2022.

The profits generated in the last year and high level of capital surplus underpin the first-ever dividend payout, Alior said in its earnings presentation.

The yearly costs of risk (CoR) dropped to 98 basis points (bps) from 151 bps in the previous year, after the sale of non-performing loans, and the dissolution of some provisions. The expected CoR is seen to settle at around 1% in 2024.

"In a scenario of stable interest rates in 2024 and costs of risk at 1%, the bank's annual net profit could grow to about 2.2 billion zlotys," said Trigon analyst Maciej Marcinowski.

Alior said pressure from Poland's mortgage payment moratoria scheme had been dissipating, with total related costs of 500 million zlotys in 2022 and 2023.

However, the new government is working on a bill to possibly extend the scheme for 2024 that, based on the most recent proposition, could cost the lender between 85-104 million zlotys, Alior Bank's CFO Radomir Gibala said on the conference call.

The new law could come into force on April 1.

($1 = 3.9779 zlotys)

(Reporting by Mateusz Rabiega; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Christina Fincher)

((Mateusz.Rabiega@thomsonreuters.com; +48 58 769 67 57;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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