At the Annual General Meeting of Íslandsbanki on 19 April 2016, it was agreed that the Board may convene a special shareholder meeting later in the year where a proposal regarding payment of dividends for the previous fiscal years could be suggested.
At the shareholder meeting held today, Tuesday 20 December 2016, it was agreed that an extraordinary dividend of ISK 27bn would be paid out to its shareholder before year-end 2016. The Icelandic state is the sole owner of Íslandsbanki and the equity stake is managed by the Icelandic State Financial Investments (ISFI).
The Bank's dividend policy states that 40-50% of net profit shall be paid out as dividend. In April, Íslandsbanki paid ISK 10bn in dividend to its sole shareholder, corresponding to 50% of 2015 net profits. Including today's dividend payment, a total of ISK 37bn will have been paid out to the Icelandic State in 2016.
A great emphasis has been placed on the asset side of Íslandsbanki's balance sheet in recent years. Restructuring of the loan portfolio is now finalised, the non-performing loan (NPL) ratio continues to decline and only a negligible share of loans is non-performing after restructuring. This places Íslandsbanki's credit quality securely in the top interquartile range of European banks.
Today's dividend payment marks a significant step in normalising the liability side of Íslandsbanki's balance sheet. Íslandsbanki has maintained extraordinary levels of capital and liquidity in preparation for possible adverse effects that may stem from the full lifting of capital controls. The debt levels of the Icelandic sovereign, as well as for individuals and corporates in Iceland, have been greatly reduced and the long awaited steps towards the lifting of capital controls passed into law.
Following the dividend payment, the Bank's total capital ratio, consisting of equity capital only, amounts to 24.0%, which is above the Bank's current total capital ratio target of 23% and well above the 19.1% regulatory total capital requirement. The leverage ratio will be 15.7%, which is significantly above the levels of European banks. The liquidity position will remain robust and well above both internal and regulatory requirements.
Birna Einarsdóttir, Chief Executive Officer:
'Íslandsbanki has maintained high capital ratios and liquidity levels in preparation for the capital account liberalisation process and the possible impact on the Bank's operating environment. Positive trends in the Icelandic economy and prudent steps towards lifting of capital controls now present a welcome opportunity to take steps to optimise the Bank's capital base.
Íslandsbanki continues to report solid returns from its underlying business despite its very high capital levels. Access to international capital markets is good and the Bank is now fully market funded. Restructuring of the loan portfolio has been finalised. Prudent lending policies have resulted in improved asset quality and a lower ratio of non-performing loans. The Icelandic operating environment has remained resilient and the Bank's capital position remains very strong. Íslandsbanki is therefore well positioned to pay a special dividend to its shareholder.'
On Wednesday 21 December, the Bank will host an investor call in English at 10.30 am to go over the dividend payment and the Bank's capital structure.
Please register by replying to firstname.lastname@example.org. Dial-in details and presentation will be sent out two hours prior to the call. All presentation material will subsequently be available and archived on www.islandsbanki.is/ir.
For information on Íslandsbanki's financial calendar and silent periods see http://www.islandsbanki.is/english/investor-relations/calendar/.