MILAN, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 3rd August, 2016) - UniCredit, Italy's largest bank, said Wednesday its second-quarter net profit soared 75 percent to 916 million Euros ($1.0 billion) on increased revenues and cost-cutting measures. Meanwhile the bank, which has been offloading assets to strengthen its capital base, also announced it had sold its credit-card processing activities in Italy, Germany and Austria to the Sia group for 500 million euros.
The second-quarter announcement beat the consensus of analysts surveyed by Factset Estimates, who had expected 714 million euros. "All divisions contribute positively to quarterly performance" and "asset quality continues to improve," said the bank. It said the level of net impaired loans had fallen by over a billion euros during the quarter to 36.7 billion euros, or 7.5 percent of the total. Like many of its Italian counterparts, UniCredit has seen its share price hammered, falling by over two-thirds since the beginning of the year.
Investors are increasingly concerned about whether the 360 billion euros in bad loans in Italy will choke the nation's lenders and economy. They have also been worried UniCredit's asset disposals may not be enough to meeting rising regulatory requirements for capital, which would prompt the bank to issue new shares. The bank said its CET1 fully loaded capital ratio -- the benchmark followed by regulators for the amount of funds a bank has available to absorb losses -- slid to 10.
33 percent at the end of June from 10.85 percent at the end of March. That figure does not include the sale to Sia, but does incorporate two recent sales of 10 percent stakes in its online bank FinecoBank and Polish unit Pekao. UniCredit was among the worst performers in European bank tests of the ability of lenders to withstand crisis. Its shares fell by 16 percent in the two days after the test results were released at the weekend. On Wednesday, its shares plunged by more than 10 cents after the results were announced, but later recovered to a drop of 1.5 percent at 1.82 euros.