9 Mar 2023 10:58

Safety margin allows Sberbank to revisit dividend payments for 2022 - CEO

MOSCOW. March 9 (Interfax) - The safety margin that Sberbank has achieved enables it to return to the consideration of dividend payments for 2022, the CEO of Russia's largest lender, German Gref said.

"Our business model has passed another strength test. As a result of measures taken, Sber ended 2022 with a net profit of 270.5 billion rubles. The amount of capital grew to 5.8 trillion rubles, and basic capital adequacy across the group rose to 14.8%," Gref said was quoted as saying in a statement on the bank's IFRS financial results.

"The achieved safety margin allows us to return to consideration of the issue of paying dividends for 2022," Gref said.

The Russian government, which is the principal shareholder of Sberbank, expects the bank to pay out at least 50% profit as 2022 dividends. "Yes, we expect [dividend payments for 2022]. The standard approach, as stipulated in Sberbank's dividend policy, is at least 50% [of profit for dividends]. We will discuss this further," Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Kolychev told reporters at the beginning of February.

Sberbank generated net profit of 300 billion rubles to Russian Accounting Standards (RAS) in 2022, excluding events occurring after the reporting date, which was a sharp drop of over 75% from the all-time high of 1.237 trillion rubles in 2021.

Sberbank did not pay dividends for 2021. The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) had recommended that credit institutions refrain from paying dividends to shareholders and bonuses to the executive board until the end of 2022 in order to ensure financial stability in the short and medium term.

Sberbank allocated 55.9% of its net profit to IFRS as dividends for 2020, or 422.4 billion rubles, at 18.70 rubles per ordinary share and preferred share.

The United States in April 2022 imposed blocking sanctions against Sberbank and a number of Sberbank-controlled companies. Several other countries have also implemented similar restrictions against Sberbank.

The Russian government is Sberbank's principal shareholder with 50% +1 share of the capital, or 52.32% of the voting rights.