VIENNA, Austria – May 14, 2019 – BAWAG Group today reports a strong profit before tax of € 127 million and net profit of € 97 million, up 9% and 12% respectively versus the prior year, for the first quarter 2019. Normalizing for the front-loaded regulatory charges, profit before tax was € 151 million and net profit € 116 million, up 6% and 8% respectively versus the prior year. The increase was primarily driven by higher core revenues as well as lower operating expenses and risk costs. The cost-income ratio of 42.4% remained below the target for 2019 of under 43%. The return on tangible common equity came in at 12.0%. The fully loaded CET1 ratio increased to 14.9%, up 40 basis points versus year-end 2018 after absorbing the impact of IFRS 16 implementation as well as the Swiss M&A. Taking into account normalized regulatory charges, the proposed share buyback of up to € 400 million, the recently paid 2018 dividend of € 215 million as well as the dividend accrual for Q1 2019, the pro forma return on tangible common equity would be at 17.8% and the CET1 ratio at 12.7%, in line with our stated targets.
“On the back of a record 2018, BAWAG Group started the first quarter 2019 with a strong set of results delivering a normalized pre-tax profit of € 151 million and net profit of € 116 million. In terms of our strategic initiatives, it was another busy start to the year: We launched multiple retail partnerships, released our new digital banking app “klar”, and continued to execute on Concept 21, our retail network transformation. We’ve closed all three acquisitions that we signed in December 2018 and continue to build out our DACH platform. Our capital return plans are on track, with the AGM having given approval for a share buyback of up to € 400 million (pending regulatory approvals) and recently paying a dividend for 2018 of € 215 million. It’s a real testimony to the Bank and the quality of our team that we delivered another quarter of strong operating performance while executing on a variety of operational and strategic initiatives,” commented Chief Executive Officer Anas Abuzaakouk.
Delivering strong results in the first quarter 2019
Core revenues increased by 2%, to € 287 million compared to the prior year reflecting core product net asset growth. Net interest income rose by 3% to € 215 million. Net fee and commission income decreased by 3%, to € 73 million. Operating expenses decreased by 3% compared to the first quarter 2018, despite the acquisition of Deutscher Ring Bausparkasse in September 2018 and of Zahnärztekasse in March 2019. The decrease reflects the integration of Südwestbank and a continued focus on driving operational efficiencies across the Group.
The cost-income ratio was down 1.2pts versus the prior year to 42.4% and remained below our 2019 target of under 43%. We maintained a strong capital position with a fully loaded CET1 ratio of 14.9%. Gross capital generation of approximately 70 basis points more than absorbed the impacts of the IFRS 16 first-time application as well as the Swiss M&A. This led to a 40bps net increase versus year-end 2018 (December 2018: 14.5%).
Customer loans slightly decreased by 1% compared to December 2018. The overall customer loan book continued to be comprised of approximately 73% exposure to the DACH region and approximately 27% exposure to Western Europe and the United States.
In the first quarter 2019 the NPL ratio stood at 1.8% and the risk cost ratio of 13 basis points reflects our continued focus on proactive risk management, maintaining a conservative risk profile, focusing on developed markets and benefiting from a benign credit environment.
Customer business segment performance in the first quarter 2019
As of 1 January 2019 the segmentation of BAWAG Group was changed to simplify our reporting structure as well as to make more visible our strategic focus towards Retail & SME in the DACH region complemented by disciplined and conservative corporate and public sector lending across developed markets.
|Segment||Retail & SME||Corporates & Public|
|PBT (in € million)|
84 / (1%)
47 / +16%
|Net profit (in € million)|
63 / (1%)
35 / +16%
|Risk cost ratio|
The Retail & SME segment delivered a PBT of € 84 million, down 1% versus the first quarter 2018. Core revenues were up 2% versus the first quarter 2018 reflecting net asset growth in housing, consumer and SME lending, while our mortgage portfolios continued to run off as anticipated. Operating expenses remained stable versus the prior year. The focus in the first quarter 2019 was on executing on our strategic and operational initiatives. In Austria, our stand-alone strategy, Concept 21, is progressing on plan, we launched multiple retail partnerships and in May we released our new digital banking app “klar”. In Germany the transformation momentum continued. We closed all three deals signed in the fourth quarter 2018 by May 2019, which complement BAWAG Group’s business model by providing a bolt-on opportunity for growth in Germany and Switzerland.
The Corporates & Public segment delivered a PBT of € 47 million, up 16% versus the first quarter 2018. The increased contribution primarily reflect lower operating expenses, down 14% versus the first quarter 2018, following the integration of Südwestbank as well as positive risk costs. Revenues remained broadly stable with the focus on risk-adjusted returns. We see continued pricing pressure across the Corporate lending space and will remain disciplined and patient.
Outlook and targets
BAWAG Group delivered strong results in the first quarter 2019 and are on track to meet full year targets.
Our targets for 2019-2020 are as follows:
|Profit before tax growth|
|Profit before tax (absolute)|
|Return on tangible equity|
|Common Equity Tier 1 capital ratio (fully loaded)|
|Pre-tax earnings per share (in €)|
|Post-tax earnings per share (in €)|
In terms of capital generation and return, we target an annual dividend payout of 50% of net profit attributable to shareholders and will deploy additional excess capital to invest in organic growth and pursue earnings accretive M&A at returns consistent with our RoTCE group targets.
To the extent excess capital is not deployed via such organic growth and M&A, we are committed to distributing excess capital to shareholders, based on a yearly assessment. The Managing Board is actively evaluating share buyback options. On 30 April 2019 the AGM approved our proposed share buy-back program of up to € 400 million (pending regulatory approvals) and we paid a dividend of € 215 million (50% of 2018 attributable net profit) for 2018 on 10 May 2019.
Jutta Wimmer (Head of Investor Relations)
Tel: +43 (0) 5 99 05-22474
Manfred Rapolter (Head of Communications, Spokesperson)
Tel: +43 (0) 5 99 05-31210