Sberbank Net Income Declines 85% in April

Russia’s largest bank Sberbank reported net income of RUB11.5bn ($155mn) in April 2020, plunging by 85% year on year and 81% month on month, and making a return on equity (ROE) of only 3%, the lowest since 2015, the Russian Accounting Standard (RAS) report showed.

As reported by bne IntelliNews, the banking sector is expected to be under severe pressure amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, but Sberbank, one of the top Russian equity exposures, has pledged to maintain a 50% dividend payout and can count on state support.

For January-April overall net income stood at RUB230bn, down by 22% y/y, making a 15% ROE, down from Sberbank’s usual 20% and higher.

“April revealed more implications from lockdown,” BCS Global Markets commented on May 13, noting a decline in ROE, top-line pressure (mostly on fees) and elevated cost of risk of 3.5% (albeit down from March’s peak of 6.1%).

BCS GM analysts see the news as negative for the name, but still maintain a Buy recommendation for Sberbank’s shares.

In April the issuance of retail loans dropped by 42% from the average seen in 1Q20 to RUB116bn, with the repayment of loans for the first time in three years exceeding the loans granted, Sberbank said, without providing exact figure of repaid loans.

The decline was the steepest in unsecured consumer loans (down by 59%), while mortgages decreased by 9%. The overall retail loan portfolio shrank by 0.4% to RUB14.3 trillion. Despite the 22% decline in corporate issuance, the corporate loan portfolio added 1.8% in real terms.

In the meantime net interest margin of the bank continued to show resilience and stayed unchanged at 5.8% in April and for 4M20 (-30bp y/y), with net interest income up 10% y/y. On the funding side retail deposits inflow supported with 2% m/m growth, offset by corporate accounts decline of 5% m/m. Fees and commissions were weak in April (-32% m/m and -20% y/y), affected by lower transactional activity during lockdown, but supported by stronger brokerage, BCS GM commented.

Sberbank’s capital adequacy levels (CAR) “look strong”, BCS GM believes, with a first-tier capital ratio at 15% as of May 1 versus the 8% regulatory minimum.

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