The listed Oberbank based in Linz earned less in the 2020 financial year. The result was negatively impacted primarily by a negative equity investment result, increased risk costs, lower valuations of financial assets and a higher contribution to deposit protection. The bottom line was that the bank had a profit after taxes of EUR 123.5 million, which corresponds to a decrease of 42.8 percent compared to the previous year, the bank announced on Monday.
For the current year, however, bank boss Franz Gasselsberger is already confident again, especially with regard to the economy. Of course, the further development is largely dependent on the progress of the corona vaccinations, which is why precise forecasts are still difficult. However, the manufacturing and construction industries have gained significant momentum again in recent months, the international economic upswing is helping the domestic export economy, and the backlog in private consumption will also dissolve this year, said Gasselsberger.
The next big issue will be inflation. This could rise to a peak of up to three percent in the next two years, says the head of the bank. One reason for this is that the warehouses are currently empty. “Everyone takes whatever material they can get,” said Gasselsberger. This could lead to short-term overheating tendencies, but in the medium term the situation should normalize again.
Kum a deferred business
In terms of bankruptcies, Gasselsberger expects an increase of up to 25 percent this year compared to 2019, the “last normal year”, according to the bank boss. The risk situation for Oberbank is still favorable, however, and there is currently hardly any deferred business. “I can’t speak to God of an insolvency tsunami,” said Gasselsberger.
Increasing risk provisions weighed on profits in 2020, however, growing to EUR 41.8 million from EUR 12.2 million in 2019. The non-performing loans / NPL ratio was 2 at the end of 2020. 05 percent. Furthermore, Causa Commerzialbank incurred additional costs of EUR 5 million for deposit protection.
In addition, a negative equity investment result depressed the surplus. The investment result was negatively impacted by the development of earnings and company value of voestalpine and was negative at minus EUR 8 million. The Oberbank took over a negative result of 35 million euros from voest, said Gasselsberger. The positive results of the two sister banks (Bank for Carinthia and Styria / BKS and Bank for Tyrol and Vorarlberg / BTV) could not compensate for this. In 2019, the investment result was plus EUR 29.7 million.
In operational terms, however, business remained stable. The commission result increased by 4.7 percent to 170.7 million euros, while the interest result fell by 2.6 percent to 336.9 million euros. The loan volume also rose by 4.2 percent to EUR 17.3 billion. According to the bank, the volume of newly awarded private financing exceeded the 1.0 billion mark for the first time at 1.1 billion euros. The biggest driver here was housing finance (plus 9.1 percent to 3.4 billion euros). The corporate loan volume was also boosted by real estate loans, but also by bridge financing and the investment premium. The corporate customer business rose by 3.5 percent to EUR 13.6 billion.
The capital base also improved. Equity increased by 2.6 percent to 3.0 billion euros, the core capital ratio was 18.17 percent (end of 2019: 17.92 percent).
Dividend for shareholders
For the shareholders there is to be an unconditional dividend of 0.58 euros per title and an additional conditional dividend of 0.17 euros, which is to be paid out if the recommendation of the European Central Bank (ECB) to limit the dividend is no longer upheld. The shareholders still have to approve the proposal at the Annual General Meeting on May 11th.
The bank intends to continue expanding its branches this year as well. A new branch is to be opened in Potsdam (Brandenburg) and two in Slovakia (Tatabánya and Jindrichuv Hradec). The most important expansion market is still Germany. “The banks there are in massive upheaval,” said Gasselsberger. In addition, there are appropriate personnel and market potential there.
In the dispute with UniCredit, they are still waiting for the ruling by the Supreme Court, but a large number of previous judgments in subordinate instances have been decided in favor of the Oberbank, said the bank CEO. “I am optimistic and confident that we will be able to successfully defend the independence of the 3 banks.” (apa)