UK AND IRELAND
* Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC declared dividends totaling £1.7 billion, comprising an interim dividend of 2 pence per ordinary share and a special dividend of 12 pence per ordinary share. This comes as the U.K. state-controlled lender saw its second-quarter profit attributable to ordinary shareholders climb year over year to £1.33 billion from £96 million a year ago and its first-half attributable profit to £2.04 billion from £888 million.
* Aviva PLC is exploring strategic options, including a possible sale, for its Asian business, which could be valued at about $3 billion to $4 billion, The Business Times (Singapore) reported. The firm is said to be in early talks with potential advisers and could launch a formal process later in 2019.
* Barclays PLC CEO Jes Staley said the group cut some 3,000 jobs in the second quarter in a bid to tighten costs, Bloomberg News reported. The bank also said it will focus on reducing costs in the second half after it faced a "challenging income environment" in the first half.
* Standard Chartered PLC CEO Bill Winters said he regretted the clamor he caused by criticizing shareholders for crying foul over his salary, The Times wrote. The bank is in dialogue with shareholders over its remuneration scheme for top officials
* Schroders PLC's unaudited first-half profit after tax fell on a yearly basis to £255.0 million from £292.6 million. The U.K. asset manager had total assets under management and administration of £444.4 billion at June-end, compared with £407.2 billion at 2018-end.
* Willis Towers Watson PLC has acquired Risk Capital Advisors Pty. Ltd. for an undisclosed amount.
* The Bank of England kept its benchmark interest rate at 0.75% and said it now expects U.K. GDP to grow 1.3% in 2019, down from its previous prediction of a 1.5% expansion in May.
* Irish consumer finance firm Avantcard DAC is ramping up operations again after being acquired by Spain's Bankinter SA, The Irish Times reported. CEO Chris Paul said the company will focus on growing its loan book, which stands at around €400 million at present, compared with €280 million in October 2017. Avantcard's headcount is now at about 250 after falling in the low 100s.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Allianz Group's net income attributable to shareholders rose 13.1% year over year to €2.14 billion from €1.89 billion. Its first-half attributable net income also increased, to €4.11 billion from €3.83 billion.
* Zurich Insurance Group AG has appointed Neil Freshwater CEO of its Dublin-based subsidiary, Zurich Insurance PLC. He replaces Patrick Manley.
* Former Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche is suing Baden-Württembergische Bank AG, a subsidiary of Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, for damages over a loss-making real estate fund investment, Spiegel Online reported. Zetsche, who accused the bank of misadvising him, claims he lost €105,000 that he invested in the fund in 2009 and is now seeking redress with the Stuttgart Regional Court.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* Crédit Agricole SA said its second-quarter net income group share dropped year over year to €1.22 billion from €1.44 billion, largely driven by net reversals in cost of risk in its corporate and investment banking division. For the first half, Credit Agricole SA's net income group share totaled €1.99 billion, down from the year-ago €2.29 billion. Meanwhile, Crédit Agricole Group's second-quarter net income group share fell to €1.81 billion from €2.08 billion a year ago, so did its net income group share for the first half, to €3.16 billion from €3.51 billion.
* Natixis posted a 32% year-over-year drop in restated net income group share for the second quarter, to €346 million from €507 million. Meanwhile, parent Groupe BPCE's restated net income group share for the quarter fell 7.9% year over year to €956 million. Natixis CEO François Riahi said the bank is already conducting an audit of its H2O AM LLP investment fund following outflows on liquidity concerns and will alter its risk controls depending on the results of the review.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* The Portuguese government approved the conditions for the sale of Caixa Geral de Depósitos SA's operations in Brazil, according to Jornal de Negócios.
ITALY AND GREECE
* Italy's Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA reported a second-quarter net profit of €65.2 million, down from €100.9 million a year ago. Net profit for the first half fell 67.7% year over year to €93.1 million from €288.5 million.
* UniCredit SpA found no evidence that customer information had been accessed or compromised following a data breach at U.S. lender Capital One Financial Corp., according to a staff memo seen by Reuters. The Italian lender recently launched an internal investigation after it was identified as a potential target of the hacker that attacked Capital One.
* Prelios, Bain Capital and Cerberus presented binding offers to buy the real estate properties of the former Banca Popolare di Vicenza SpA with a decision expected by year-end, MF wrote.
* Italian life insurer Eurovita Holding has acquired peer Pramerica Life SpA from U.S.-based Prudential Financial Inc. for an undisclosed sum in a deal that would boost Eurovita's gross written premiums to €2 billion, Reuters reported.
* National Bank of Greece SA agreed to sell roughly €1.2 billion worth of unsecured nonperforming portfolio of credit cards, consumer loans, small-business loans and small and medium-sized enterprise loans to CarVal Investors LLC. The bank noted that the consideration for the deal is equivalent to over 9% of the principal amount of the NPL book.
* DNB ASA will book a positive effect of 740 million Norwegian kroner from basis swaps linked to funding in its second-quarter results. Moreover, the bank will book a negative effect of 125 million kroner arising from additional Tier 1 capital, e24.no wrote.
* The Polish Office of Competition of Consumer Protection established as part of ongoing proceedings against Idea Bank SA that the lender misled clients when offering them bonds issued by debt collector GetBack SA, which is currently undergoing restructuring proceedings, news agency PAP reported.
* The Polish Financial Supervision Authority decided to introduce additional requirements regarding the offering of contracts for differences to retail customers, who will now have to apply for the status of an experienced client and obtain various certificates in order to get access to certain types of CFDs, Parkiet and Puls Biznesu reported.
* Austria's Erste Group Bank AG has opted not to bid for Serbia-based Komercijalna banka a.d. Beograd as it intends to focus on developing its digital banking business in Serbia instead, SEENews reported, citing Erste CEO Andreas Treichl.
* Moldova's central bank raised its key rate to 7.5% from 7.0%. The regulator also increased the overnight loan rate to 10.5% and the overnight deposit rate to 4.5%.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: S&P outlook on APAC financial firms to remain stable; Bank of China enters India
Middle East & Africa: Samba profit down; Ecobank names CFO; Qatar, Jordan central banks cut rates
Latin America: Brazil cuts Selic rate to 6%; Mexico slashes 2019 GDP growth forecast
North America: S&P reports higher adjusted EPS YOY in Q2; Big US banks cut benchmark rates
Global Insurance: Capital One hack may cause $400M payout; Cigna earnings; next step for Genworth
NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE
LSE shares hit record high as $27 billion talks to win Refinitiv continue: London Stock Exchange confirms move to acquire financial data and analytics firm Refinitiv in a deal that would see the combined group take on Bloomberg while promising investors huge savings.
Barclays' commitment to i-banking boosted by Q2 performance: Barclays boss Jes Staley now has more ammunition to fight off critics of his strategy to stand behind the investment bank division for the long term.
Monte dei Paschi ramps up bad loan disposals as profits slump: Monte dei Paschi is speeding up the pace of bad loan reductions, and hopes to get rid of a further €2 billion of toxic debt before the year end. But the costs of an early exit from a loan servicing agreement dragged down second-quarter profits.
SocGen shares jump as investors applaud capital target achievement: Shares rose as the bank said it had met its capital target ahead of schedule, despite expectations to the contrary.
Persistent low interest rates making consumers uncertain, says Dutch bank ING: Rather than encouraging them to take on more debt, the low-interest-rate environment is making consumers more conservative and risk-averse, ING CEO Ralph Hamers told analysts during a second-quarter earnings call.
Axa XL on track to contribute €1.4B to group by 2020 after 'excellent' H1: Group CFO Gérald Harlin said the effect of large losses in the first half would be "more or less neutral" because of reserve releases set aside for 2018's Hurricane Michael and the California wildfires.
Deza Mones, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Gerard O'Dwyer, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Brian McCulloch, Praxilla Trabattoni and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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