KBC's Belgian banks report profit of €243 million in first quarter

KBC's Belgian banks report profit of €243 million in first quarter
Credit: Belga

KBC Group's banking operations in Belgium saw a lift from increased insurance sales in the first three months of 2024, recording a net profit of €243 million.

Latest figures from KBC Group show that net profits from the group's Belgian operation were down 49% compared to the last quarter of 2023, but the group noted that results were distorted by bank and insurance taxes due at the start of each year.

When bank and insurance taxes are excluded, KBC banks in Belgium saw an 11% increase in net profit in the first quarter of 2024, due to higher insurance revenues and net fee and commission income, as well as lower costs, stable insurance service expenses and higher net impairment charges.

The wider KBC Group brought in a net profit of €506 million in the first quarter of 2024, down from €677 million in the previous quarter and €882 million during the same period last year.

Johan Thijs, CEO of KBC Group, said that higher income from interest, fees and commission, and insurance sales was offset by lower levels of income from dividends and trading and fair value. He added that overall costs were up in the quarter due to bank and insurance taxes being due, but other costs decreased.

"Disregarding bank and insurance taxes, costs fell by 9% quarter-on-quarter and 1% year-on-year. Impairment charges were also down significantly, as the previous quarter had included a sizeable one-off impairment on goodwill," he said.

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KBC Group had a total income of €2.708 billion in the first quarter. Some €1.369 billion of this came from income from interest, while €614 million came from fee and commission income, and €134 million from providing insurance services.

The group saw its loan portfolio increase by 1% quarter-on-quarter, and 4% year-on-year, with customer deposits also rising despite an outflow of deposits triggered by the issue of a retail State bond (Staatsbon) in Belgium in September 2023.

In addition to a final dividend for 2023 of €3.15 per share announced in February, the group's board of directors announced an extraordinary interim dividend of €0.70 per share on 29 May 2024.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the group said it expects net interest income in the range of €5.3 to €5.5 billion, and for insurance revenues to grow by at least 6%.

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