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Millennium Bank: 4Q05 results and strategy update

20.01.2006 9:18
Autor: KBC/Patria

Millennium Bank has announced its 2005 results, delivering net earnings of PLN 567m (+109% y/y), broadly in line with expectations, with the bank booking a massive pre-tax gain of PLN416.5m in the fourth quarter on the final settlement, regarding the sale of a 10% stake in PZU (original transaction at the end of 2004). Excluding the PZU sale and a restructuring write-off, the bank estimates recurrent income for 2005 was PLN208.2m (+102% y/y, excluding one-offs from the base period as well). This implies a modest recurrent ROE of 10.5%, though it should be noted MB remains massively overcapitalised with a tier 1 CAR of 19.1% (before inclusion of the 2005 net profit).

There was considerable improvement in the operational results for 2005, with net interest income up 3.7% y/y, despite a falling margin on the back of lower interest rates. Net fee income jumped 17.9% y/y, on the back of loan commissions (+58%), credit cards (+29%), and mutual funds (+100%). At the same time, operating costs dropped by 3.9% y/y (excluding a decline in one-off depreciation), despite an increase of 4.1% in the number of staff. However, it should be noted that the MB’s estimated recurrent income of PLN 208.2m for 2005 also comes on the back of a net provisioning release of PLN 7.2m, following large loan recoveries in the past year.

The new strategy of MB will see the bank add 160 new outlets (to its existing network of some 320 outlets) over the next 3 years and renovate its corporate image for a total investment of PLN 190m. In 2006, the bank is to implement the re-branding exercise and add 60 outlets (including the transformation of 31 existing outlets). Due to the additional costs associated with the expansion, the bank is targeting a flat recurrent ROE for 2006 versus an initially anticipated upward trajectory. This new target is not unchallenging, given that a normalisation of provisioning requirements in 2006 would require recurrent operating profits to increase by some 15%+ just in order to keep earnings flat.

The announced dividend of MB of PLN 458.6 (or PLN 0.54 per share), equating to a dividend yield of 8.3% and an 81% payout of the prior year’s earnings, is likely to satisfy the market. However, a comment from management at the analyst meeting that the future payout ratio is not expected to exceed 50% comes as a disappointment, given the high capital adequacy of the bank. Nonetheless, management will have a full year to evaluate its policy before it proposes another dividend. The stock was up 3.2% yesterday in anticipation of a good set of results and we would expect the positive sentiment towards MB to continue today.

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