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Bank Hapoalim's Q4'17 profit up YOY as loan loss provisions drop

Bank Hapoalim BM reported fourth-quarter 2017 net profit attributed to shareholders of 612 million Israeli shekels, up from 138 million shekels in the prior-year period.

EPS for the quarter was 46 agorot, compared to 10 agorot a year earlier.

Net interest income rose year over year to 2.23 billion shekels from 2.03 billion shekels, while total noninterest income declined to 1.47 billion shekels from 1.66 billion shekels.

The Israeli lender booked a provision for credit losses of 24 million shekels in the quarter, compared to the year-ago 469 million shekels.

For full year 2017, the bank's net profit attributed to shareholders increased on a yearly basis to 2.66 billion shekels from 2.63 billion shekels. EPS amounted to 1.99 shekels, compared to the year-ago 1.97 shekels.

Bank Hapoalim said a CHF45 million provision related to the investigation of the group's business with American clients was included in 2017. Bank Hapoalim (Schweiz) AG made a negative contribution of 334 million shekels, compared to a negative contribution of 331 million shekels in 2016.

Excluding the investigation and the costs of the discontinuation of the bank's activity in Switzerland, Bank Hapoalim's full-year 2017 amounted to 3.35 billion shekels, compared to 3.15 billion shekels a year ago.

Return on equity was 7.50% in 2017, compared to 7.72% in 2016.

The lender said it exceeded its capital adequacy targets, with its common equity Tier 1 ratio standing at 11.26% at the end of 2017, compared to 11.01% at 2016-end.

The bank's board of directors resolved to distribute a dividend of 18.345 agorot per share of par value of 1 shekel for the fourth quarter of 2017. The dividend will be paid April 11, with a record date of April 3.

As of March 23, US$1 was equivalent to 3.49 Israeli shekels.