Sunday 22 April 2018

Profits at Desmond's Latvian bank remained flat at €72m last year

Irish financier Dermot Desmond has a one-third stake in Latvia's Reitumu Banka
Irish financier Dermot Desmond has a one-third stake in Latvia's Reitumu Banka
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Profits at Latvia's Reitumu Banka, in which Irish financier Dermot Desmond has a one-third stake, were flat last year at €72m.

Mr Desmond has owned a stake in the bank since 2005 through his Boswell vehicle. He is also a member of the bank's council. He's estimated to have paid about €100m for the stake.

Rietumu has committed to paying 50pc of its profits out as dvidends.

The bank said that its interest income hit €99m last year, up from €89.3m a year earlier. Its commission and fee income was €69.1m in 2015, compared to €65.8m in 2014.

Chairman Alaxander Pankov described 2015 as a "very successful year" for the bank, with its assets growing by 8.9pc to €3.8bn in the period.

He said that despite the low interest environment, the bank has continued to operate efficiently, with a cost-to-income ratio of 31pc.

Mr Pankov added that although customers spent, on average, less per transaction on their cards during 2015, the volume of transactions per card increased, resulting in a 25pc increase in commission expense.

The Bank generated an after-tax return on equity of 19.1pc, compared to 24pc in 2014, and an after-tax return on assets of 2pc, compared to 2.2pc the previous year.

Its capital adequacy ratio was 19.43pc last year, compared to the minimum 15.5pc required by regulators.

Commercial lending represents about 89pc of Rietumu's total €1.15bn loan book. Latvia, Russia and Belarus represent its largest commercial lending markets.

The performance at Rietumu is significantly ahead of its performance a number of years ago, as Latvia's economy ground to a halt and the country was bailed out.

But the economy recovered, and last month ratings agency Fitch said that it expects the Baltic state to generate real GDP growth of about 3pc this year.

Irish Independent

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