Commerzbank’s BRE Plans to Pay First Dividend in Decade

BRE Bank SA may pay its first dividend in more than a decade as Commerzbank AG’s Polish unit expects profit near a record this year on growing loans.

The fourth-largest Polish bank will probably pay dividend of less than 50 percent of last year’s profit, Chief Executive Officer Cezary Stypulkowski told reporters in Warsaw today. Its profit in 2012 was “close to” a record 1.13 billion zloty ($364 million) in 2011 and will reach a similar level this year, Stypulkowski said. Its 2012 results are due on Feb. 8.

“Chances are very high that we will pay dividend from 2012 profit,” Stypulkowski said. “We’ve shown we can keep costs under control and our revenue shouldn’t fall. Our earnings this year should be close to last year’s level.”

Banks in Poland saw their combined profit rise 2.1 percent to a record 14.8 billion zloty in the first 11 months of last year as lending continued to grow even as the country’s economy slowed, the Polish financial regulator said on its website today. BRE’s lending rose 7.5 percent in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, it said in a regulatory filing on Oct. 30.

BRE shares rose for the first time in six days, adding 0.2 percent to 316.3 zloty as of 4:13 p.m. in Warsaw, valuing the lender at 13.3 billion zloty.

Last time BRE paid dividend in 2002, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Warsaw-based bank earlier planned to resume dividend payouts from next year, Stypulkowski said. The management will announce its dividend proposal in March.

In August, the Warsaw-based lender said it expects revenue to grow 6 percent annually through 2016 and cost-to-income ratio will be at no more than 48 percent in the next five years. If these targets are met the dividend payout will increase to 50 percent or more, Stypulkowski said.

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