MILAN. «Today we presented results of the highest quality», says CEO Carlo Messina, commenting on Intesa Sanpaolo’s accounts closed with profits of 4.35 billion, but 5.5 billion if we exclude 1.4 billion of provisions and adjustments for Russia and Ukraine. «That of 2022 – continues the banker – is the best balance sheet in the history of Intesa Sanpaolo». In turn, the fourth quarter, which ended with profits of 1.07 billion (above the 880 million expected by the consensus of analysts) «was the best quarter ever for revenues – up 13% on the previous year – with a strong acceleration of the interest margin component».
In any case, with the net result of 5.5 billion, not counting Russia, “we have largely exceeded the plan objective for 2022”. In the second half of the year, exposure to Russia was reduced by 68% (approximately 2.5 billion euro), falling below 0.3% of the group’s total customer loans.
Analyzing the accounts, operating income rose by 3.3% to 21.5 billion, with net interest which, thanks to the increase in ECB rates, jumped by 20.2% to 9.5 billion and net fee and commission income down by 6.4% to 8.9 billion. Operating costs were stable (-0.4%) at 10.9 billion, with a cost/income ratio down to 50.9%. As for capital solidity, the fully loaded Cet 1 coefficient is 13.5% after deducting dividends and the buyback and without considering the 125 basis points of positive impact envisaged by the Dta, deferred taxes.
«Remunerating shareholders while maintaining a solid financial position is an essential element of our DNA and remains our priority», says Messina. “In the coming days – he specifies – we will launch the second tranche” of 1.7 billion “of the buyback of treasury shares, bringing the total amount to 3.4 billion. This means that this year we will repay at least 5.3 billion taking into account the dividend we will pay in May subject to approval by the shareholders’ meeting, the second tranche of the buyback and the interim dividend which – as usual – we will pay in November”. The board resolved to propose to the shareholders’ meeting the distribution of a coupon of 3.05 billion euro, equal to a payout ratio of 70% of net profit, which, taking into account the interim dividend paid last November equal to 1 .4 billion, leads to the proposed distribution of 1.64 billion in balance. Based on the current number of ordinary shares, the dividend balance is equal to 8.68 euro cents per share.
As for the future, the goal of 6.5 billion euros in net profit in 2025 is confirmed, with a “clear and strong rise deriving from the increase in interest rates”, explain the bank. A significant increase in operating profit is expected for 2023, resulting from solid net interest-driven revenue growth, a continued focus on cost management, and a sharp decline in net loan loss provisions, resulting in a well above the €5.5 billion 2022 net income calculated excluding Russian de-risking.