By Ian Walker
ING Groep NV (INGA.AE) Tuesday reported a 25% rise in fourth-quarter net profit, reflecting continued business growth at resilient margins, higher net commission and fee income and lower risk costs.
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the Dutch bank made a profit of EUR1.27 billion ($1.45 billion) compared with EUR1.02 billion in the same period a year earlier. This compares with consensus forecasts of EUR1.14 billion, taken from FactSet and based on six analysts' forecasts.
However, stripping out exceptional and other one-off items, the bank made an adjusted pretax profit of EUR1.69 billion, compared with EUR1.56 billion a year earlier and analysts' forecasts of EUR1.56 billion, also taken from FactSet and based on five analysts' expectations.
Net interest income rose to EUR3.57 billion from EUR3.51 billion for the fourth quarter of 2017.
ING said its fully-loaded common equity Tier 1 ratio, a measure of a bank's financial strength, at Dec. 31 stood at 14.5%, the same as the comparable period last year.
Chief Executive Ralph Hamers said the board stepped up cost savings in the period and sees a need for further cost discipline as it expects lower lending growth in wholesale banking, possible increases in regulatory expenses and continued challenges in the financial markets.
The board has declared a final dividend of 44 cents a share, taking the total payout for the year to 68 cents.
Write to Ian Walker at email@example.com; @IanWalk40289749