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Bank Leumi Q2 profit rises YOY

Bank Leumi le-Israel BM reported second-quarter consolidated net income attributable to shareholders of 923 million Israeli shekels, up from 903 million shekels a year ago.

Excluding the effect of Leumi Card, the bank's credit card unit that it sold in February, net income for the second quarter of 2018 was 843 million shekels.

EPS for the period stood at 62 agorot, compared to 59 agorot a year earlier.

Net interest income for the quarter increased year over year to 2.47 billion shekels from 2.41 billion shekels. Total noninterest income rose over the same period to 1.19 billion shekels from 1.15 billion shekels, with fees and commissions amounting to 817 million shekels, down from a reclassified 1.02 billion shekels a year ago.

The lender booked expenses in respect of loan losses of 288 million shekels, compared to income of 14 million shekels a year ago. Total operating and other expenses reached 1.95 billion shekels, down from 2.13 billion shekels in the second quarter of 2018.

Bank Leumi's board of directors approved a second-quarter dividend of 369 million shekels, or 24.91 agorot per share, representing 40% of net income for the period. The record date for the dividend was set at Aug. 28 and the amount will be paid Sept. 8.

The lender noted that the final dividend is subject to changes due to its share buyback plan of up to 700 million shekels. The bank said it has repurchased 301 million shekels' worth of its shares as of the date of its financial statements' approval and that it has decided to proceed with the second stage of the buyback, which will begin Aug. 15.

For the first half, the bank's attributable net income increased on a yearly basis to 2.02 billion shekels from 1.63 billion shekels. EPS for the period was 1.35 shekels, up from 1.07 shekels a year earlier.

Bank Leumi's common equity Tier 1 capital ratio stood at 11.65% as of June 30, compared to 11.07% at the end of 2018 and 11.17% a year ago. The leverage ratio stood at 7.14% at the end of June, compared to 7.05% at 2018-end and 7.01% a year earlier.

As of Aug. 13, US$1 was equivalent to 3.48 Israeli shekels.