- Lender expects profit to rise despite new taxes and fees
- Alior has completed due diligence of one competitor, CEO says
Alior Bank SA, the Polish lender with the country’s fourth-biggest branch network, expects a double-digit percentage growth in its profit next year as lending rebounds.
Local banks are facing increasing levies next year with the government set to impose a tax on their assets to finance social spendings. President Andrzej Duda is also working on a conversion of $38 billion in Swiss franc-denominated mortgages into zloty with part of the costs covered by lenders.
“Despite the planned increase of taxes, a risk of an interest-rate cut, higher bank bankruptcy fees, I am absolutely certain Alior will be one of the few banks to report higher net income next year,” Chief Executive Officer Wojciech Sobieraj said in a phone interview on Thursday.
This year’s profit may “easily exceed” the 353 million zloty ($87 million) forecast by analysts at the beginning of this year, excluding the one-time 59 million-zloty payment for bankrupt cooperative bank last month, he said. The bank is heading to report the best quarter this year, according to Sobieraj.
The bank is moving forward with its plan to expand through takeovers, Sobieraj said, adding it has completed a due diligence of one competitor and is readying for analysis of another lender. Alior’s lending growth will accelerate to about 1.5 billion zloty a quarter from about 1 billion zloty this year, while uncertainty related to the shape of new levies is diminishing, according to the CEO.
Sobieraj’s comments come a day after the Warsaw-based bank’s shares slumped to the lowest level in almost two years. He sees no “strategic or operational” issues, which could justify the decline, he said. The shares added 0.8 percent to 64.5 zloty as of 12:16 p.m. in Warsaw.