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Bank Pekao Plans Record Dividend as Profit Tops Estimates

Bank Pekao SA, Poland’s second-largest lender and a unit of UniCredit SpA (UCG), proposed a record dividend after its fourth-quarter profit exceeded analysts’ estimates.

Management recommended a payout of 9.96 zloty ($3.28) a share, or 94 percent of 2013’s profit, the Warsaw-based bank said in a regulatory statement today. That compares with 8.39 zloty paid last year and an 8.86 zloty forecast by Bloomberg. Fourth-quarter net income was 735.6 million zloty, beating the mean 665.2 million-zloty estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 13 analysts.

“Pekao can afford to pay such a high dividend as it has plenty of excess capital and has no plans to spend it on acquisitions,” Michal Konarski, an analyst at MBank SA’s brokerage in Warsaw, said by phone today.

Polish banks are returning more cash to their owners after the country’s financial-markets supervisor removed restrictions on dividends as the domestic economy started accelerating. Commerzbank AG’s MBank last month announced plans to increase a payout by 70 percent, Citigroup Inc.’s Bank Handlowy SA proposed to spend almost its entire profit on a dividend, while Bank Millennium SA will pay its first dividend in three years.

Pekao shares gained 0.9 percent to 185.2 zloty at 9:10 a.m. in Warsaw, snapping a two-day decline and valuing the bank at 48.6 billion zloty.

Pekao’s solvency ratio, a measure of capital, was 18.8 percent at the end of last year, compared with the required 8 percent. Full-year profit declined to 2.78 billion zloty from 2.94 billion zloty in 2012, according to its statement today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marta Waldoch in Warsaw at mwaldoch@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net Pawel Kozlowski, Michael Winfrey

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