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Share buyback and new FSA rules hurt Danske's capital levels

' capital levelsdecreased due to the implementation of a new risk-assessment model and a sharebuyback of 9 billion kroner that was booked in the first quarter, CEO ThomasBorgen said after the Danish bank posted a slight year-over-year in net profit andrevealed that its common equity Tier1 ratio fell to 15% at the end of Marchfrom 16.1% at the end of 2015.

Borgentold analysts during a conference call that Danske Bank had applied therisk-assessment models of Denmark's financial regulator rather than its ownmethodology in relation to its first-quarter capital levels. "We have donea fundamental change [to our capital models]," he added.

Thelender also stepped up lending to maintain profitability despite sub-zerointerest rates eroding its margins. Danske Bank's lending volume grew more than2% year over year in the first quarter to 1.640 trillion kroner from 1.605trillion kroner.

"[U]nderlyingbusiness trends looked robust despite the pressure from low rates and subduedclient activity," CreditSights analysts said in an April 29 note aboutDanske Bank's first-quarter results.

Inresponse to concerns raised by an analyst during the conference call, Borgensaid Danske Bank considers the U.K.'s possible exit from the EU a risk for allcountries in Europe, but the negative effect on the bank's Northern Irishbusiness would be manageable.

"[DanskeBank Northern Ireland] has a very strong position, as you know, with a verystrong credit portfolio," the CEO said.

As of April 28, US$1 wasequivalent to 6.58 Danish kroner.