(Reuters) – MILAN (Reuters) -UniCredit promised on Tuesday to return 5.25 billion euros ($5.69 billion) to investors based on its results in 2022. This is one of the most ambitious payout targets among European banks, and it comes after the bank made its best profit in over a decade.
The bank said that its net profit for the three months ending in December was 2.46 billion euros. This was more than twice what analysts polled by the bank had predicted, which was 1.10 billion euros ($1.2 billion).
The write-up of deferred tax assets added an extra 852 million euros to the number.
Over the course of 2021, the lender gave investors 3.75 billion euros in dividends and bought back their own shares.
UniCredit said it expected to have a net profit in 2023 that was about the same as in 2022. This would include its business in Russia, which it had left out of its profit goal last year after Russia invaded Ukraine.
It also plans to share profits the same way in 2023 as it did in 2022.
UniCredit hasn’t been able to get out of Russia, where it owns one of the top 15 banks.
The bank said that its core capital went up from 15.41% at the end of September to 16% in the fourth quarter.
Taking into account its most recent plans for distribution, which are subject to approval by shareholders and, for the buyback part, approval by supervisors, its pro-forma core capital was 14.9%, which was still well above its goal of 12.5–13%.
UniCredit said that its income from its main lending business went up 38% from the previous quarter and 43% from the same time last year. This is because tighter monetary policy has made the difference between the interest rates banks charge on loans and the interest rates they pay to raise money bigger.
Overall sales for the quarter were 5.72 billion euros, which was more than the average estimate of 5.12 billion euros.