Pekao Beats Estimates as Visa Deal Gain Helps Offset New Tax

  • Second-quarter net rises at fastest pace in over four years
  • UniCredit’s unit booked 263.7 million zloty from Visa deal

Bank Pekao SA, Poland’s second-largest lender, said its second-quarter profit rose 12 percent as it booked a gain from a deal with Visa Inc., which helped it offset an impact of the new bank tax.

Net income rose to 690.5 million zloty ($179 million) from 619.2 million zloty a year earlier, the Warsaw-based lender said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday, topping a 612.3 million-zloty mean estimate in a Bloomberg survey. The Polish unit of UniCredit SpA booked a pretax gain of 263.7 million zloty from Visa’s takeover of Visa Europe Ltd., in which Pekao was a member bank.

Investors are taking a close look at Pekao as UniCredit is considering tapping shareholders for as much as 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) and selling its entire stake in Pekao to raise capital, people with knowledge of the matter said last week. Earlier in July, the Italian lender disposed of a 10 percent holding for 3.3 billion zloty.

The shares slipped 0.5 percent to 124.15 zloty as of 9:32 a.m. in Warsaw, extending a 14 percent drop this year. Polish banks rallied on Tuesday as Poland announced a new proposal to safely unwind the country’s $36 billion in foreign-currency mortgages. Pekao doesn’t have a significant exposure to non-zloty home loans.

The extra Visa gain has helped other Polish lenders, including Bank Zachodni WBK SA and Bank Millennium SA, at least temporarily offset the impact of a new levy on assets introduced in February amid record-low borrowing costs and higher payments into a deposit guarantee fund.

Pekao paid 120.2 million zloty in the new tax in the second quarter. Net interest income advanced to 1.08 billion zloty from 1.02 billion zloty a year earlier, while net fee income dropped 1.6 percent to 505.1 million zloty.

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