Initiatives for a more sustainable society; profit and dividend up
12 March 2018 0:00 - 8.00 CET
In order to further strengthen its role as a committed partner for a more sustainable society, BNG Bank financed more than 150,000 solar panels in the year under review through Rooftop Energy and the 'Boer Kiest Zon' solar farming project as well as through directly financing municipalities and housing associations, among others. Wind energy, biomass, bioenergy, geothermal and district heating network projects were also financed. In autumn, a public real estate scan was introduced. Municipalities used this online tool to identify – within just a few months – 1 million m2 of public real estate to be made more sustainable through investments. The bank established a Sustainability Fund in December. Associations, enterprises and other business initiators can raise a loan from EUR 100,000 with this Fund for projects which contribute to the sustainability goals of municipalities or provinces. BNG Bank will initially provide EUR 10 million to the Fund and intends to increase this amount to EUR 25 million in the coming three years. The interest and repayments received will in turn be made available for new investments.
To finance its sustainable activities, BNG Bank issued two new sustainable bonds in the year under review. Since 2014, the bank has issued a total of six sustainability bonds and social housing bonds valued at EUR 4.1 billion, making it one of the leaders in this field within the Dutch banking landscape.
BNG Bank also began providing refinancing under the export credit guarantee scheme operated by the central government in 2017. By now, three transactions totalling over USD 300 million were concluded. They are a tangible indication of BNG Bank's response to the government's wish of promoting Dutch exports and supporting Dutch businesses that export their goods and services to other countries.
The total amount of long-term lending in 2017 was EUR 9.5 billion, most of which was provided to municipalities, housing associations, and healthcare and educational institutions. The total amount decreased by EUR 0.7 billion compared to 2016 due to the relatively low market demand. At the end of 2017, the total long-term loan portfolio amounted to EUR 80.1 billion (end of 2016: EUR 81.0 billion).
Net profit up
Net profit rose by 6.5% to EUR 393 million in 2017. The interest result rose to EUR 435 million, an increase of EUR 30 million compared to 2016, thanks to the favourable rates for new loans. The result on financial transactions was EUR 181 million positive in 2017 (2016: EUR 118 million positive). The unrealised market value changes (EUR 128 million) strongly contributed to this result, which achievement was influenced by the rise in long-term interest rates in 2017 and the lower credit and liquidity risk spreads of most of the interest-bearing securities. Partly due to the European Central Bank's continuing buying programme, the realised results within the result on financial transactions also were highly positive.
Increased solvency ratios
BNG Bank's solvency further increased during the period under review. The bank's Tier 1 ratio rose to almost 37%. Due to the increase in Tier 1 capital and the lower balance sheet total, the bank's leverage ratio rose by 0.5% to 3.5% compared to year-end 2016.
Higher dividend pay-out percentage
Following the positive development of the leverage ratio BNG Bank proposes a higher pay-out percentage. This is possible because of the current and expected development of the bank's capital position. It is expected that certainty on the introduction of the leverage ratio will be obtained in the course of 2018, after which BNG Bank will review its capitalisation and dividend policy. Anticipating on final regulation, BNG Bank proposes distributing 37.5% (2016: 25%) of the profit available after taxes. This figure represents a dividend of EUR 141 million (2016: EUR 91 million). The remainder will be added to the reserves. The dividend amounts to EUR 2.53 (2016: EUR 1.64) per share with a nominal value of EUR 2.50.
Outlook for 2018
With effect from 1 January 2018, BNG Bank is required to report on its balance sheet and income statement in accordance with the new standard for financial instruments (IFRS 9). Based on the bank's current understanding, the transition to the opening balance sheet in accordance with the new standard will lead to a decrease in equity of approximately EUR 270 million, mainly attributable to adjustments related to hedge accounting. More than EUR 170 million relates to a decrease in the cash flow hedge reserve. As this reserve is not part of the Tier 1 capital, the impact on the Tier 1 ratio and the leverage ratio is relatively limited. The interest result for 2018 is expected to range between EUR 390 million and EUR 440 million. Unpredictable movements on the financial markets make it impossible to give a reliable expectation of the unrealised results within the financial transactions result. For this reason, the bank does not consider it wise to make a statement regarding the expected net profit for 2018.
BNG Bank will publish its Annual Report on Thursday 29 March 2018 via www.bngbank.com.
This is an unofficial translation of the Dutch press release. This translation is provided for convenience only. In the event of any ambiguity, the Dutch text will prevail.
The Hague, 12 March 2018, 8.00 AM