High level of activity despite international turmoil

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DNB’s profits in the fourth quarter of 2018 were NOK 6 872 million, an increase of NOK 498 million from the same quarter the year before. A high level of activity among the largest corporate customers, where DNB Markets is gaining an ever-stronger position, contributes to the solid results.

"The year 2018 turned out better than many had feared," says Rune Bjerke, group chief executive of DNB. He points to the significant fluctuations in the international financial markets, which among other things resulted in a sharp drop in the stock market at the end of the fourth quarter. 

"The Norwegian and international economy is in a period of restructuring. Entrepreneurship and innovation are key success factors in this restructuring. It is therefore gratifying to see that so many business owners are still investing in new initiatives. We had a growth in lending to Norwegian companies of over NOK 20 billion throughout the year. These companies in turn create large ripple effects in society," says Bjerke. 

DNB's profit for the year of NOK 24.3 billion was around NOK 2.5 billion higher than the previous year. The Board of Directors has proposed a dividend of NOK 8.25 per share.   

Won the customers' trust 

Net interest income in the fourth quarter amounted to NOK 9 611 million, up NOK 747 million from the corresponding quarter of last year.  

The quarterly result was lifted by solid commission and fee income, among other things from transaction advice in DNB Markets. Net commission and fee income rose to NOK 2 660 million in the fourth quarter, a sizeable increase of NOK 596 million compared with the year-earlier period.  

In the course of the year, the DNB Group has facilitated many important transactions for large corporate customers in Norway and internationally. Sectors such as seafood, healthcare and real estate stand out with a high level of activity. 

"We depend on our customers' trust. It is therefore extremely positive that we are becoming an ever-more important adviser for many customers. We have become better at utilising the knowledge and expertise across the Bank. Strong relationships, a wide range of products, new digital solutions and in-depth sector expertise make up a combination that we firmly believe in," says Bjerke. 

Continued low losses 

DNB's return on equity ended at 12.9 per cent in the fourth quarter, and at a total of 11.7 per cent for the year 2018. This constitutes solid progress from 10.8 per cent in 2017.  

The losses remained at a very low level in the fourth quarter, ending at NOK 235 million. As a result of reversals the item ended up in the positive for the entire year. 

"When the oil crisis hit the Norwegian economy about three years ago, many people thought the effects on DNB's financial statements would be long-lasting. Looking back, it is very impressive to see how Norwegian companies, owners and banks have emerged stronger from the crisis," says the group chief executive.  

Innovation and corporate responsibility 

Innovation is thriving in many parts of the DNB Group. The fourth quarter was no exception, with several important launches and milestones: 

  • The corporate app DNB Puls was launched in November. DNB Puls is a financial management tool for small businesses that provides the user with a complete overview of the company's finances.  
  • A strong joint effort from the entire bank contributed to more customers and larger volumes for the share savings account scheme. The result was an increase in market share from 24 to 26 per cent. In total, 125 670 Norwegians have now opened a share savings account in DNB, with a total volume of NOK 33.7 billion. 
  • In the fourth quarter, DNB's start-up pilots assisted 1 038 startups and growth companies, providing sound advice for the start-up phase and for continued growth. In 2018, the start-up pilots helped a total of 5 061 companies get started. 
  • After two years of climbing the rankings of the Norwegian ethical bank guide (Etisk bankguide, part of the Fair Finance Guide initiative), DNB was named "Full Spectrum Bank of the year" for our sustainability efforts within both governance and credit activities. Overall, the bank ended up in fourth place in the rankings.  
  • As the only Nordic bank, DNB received the highest score of A from the analysis company Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which this year evaluated 6 500 companies internationally and is particularly aimed at investors. Corporate governance, how the companies handle climate-related risks and opportunities, greenhouse gas emissions, reduction plans and general information about sustainability are some of the factors that are reported to CDP.

"And last, but not least, all our business areas have gained momentum. We have reached the growth targets we have set and communicated to the market. Here, I would also like to highlight the growth in lending to personal customers. We have now passed NOK 760 billion, after a growth of NOK 34 billion the past year," says group chief executive Rune Bjerke.

Financial key figures for the fourth quarter of 2018  

  •  Pre-tax operating profit before impairment amounted to NOK 7.3 billion (7.3)
  •  Profit for the period was NOK 6.9 billion (6.4)
  •  Earnings per share were NOK 4.1 (3.8)
  •  Return on equity was 12.9 per cent (12.3)
  •  Cost/income ratio ended at 45.8 per cent (45.3)
  •  CET1 capital ratio (according to transitional rules) was 16.4 per cent (16.4)

Financial key figures for the year 2018

  •  Pre-tax operating profit before impairment amounted to NOK 28.3 billion (28.6)
  •  Profit for the year was NOK 24.3 billion (21.8)
  •  Earnings per share were NOK 14.6 (12.8)
  •  Return on equity was 11.7 per cent (10.8)
  •  Cost/income ratio ended at 43.8 per cent (44.2)
  •  Proposed dividend is NOK 8.25 per share (7.10)

Comparable figures for 2017 in parentheses. 

The extended fourth quarter presentation will be published in a separate release at 11:00 Oslo time

Details concerning DNB’s results can be found on ir.dnb.no

Press contact:
Thomas Midteide, group executive vice president Media & Marketing, tel. (+47) 962 32 017
Rune Helland, head of Investor Relations, tel. (+47) 977 13 250
Jan Ole Huseby, Senior Advisor Investor Relations, tlf. (+47) 958 61 003 

This press release includes Alternative Performance Measures (APMs). Definitions and calculations can be found in the quarterly report and on ir.dnb.no

This information is subject to the disclosure requirements according to Section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.