BRUSSELS Feb 9 Belgian financial group KBC
on Thursday posted a better-than-expected net profit
for the final quarter of 2016, as it benefited from higher fee
and commission income and strong sales of insurance products.
The group, which does most of its business in Belgium and
the Czech Republic, said both loans and deposits increased
compared to last year.
KBC, which suffered during the crisis in the Irish housing
market and still had some 13 billion euros ($13.89 billion) of
loans outstanding in that country, said it had decided to keep
its Irish operations and was aiming for a 10 percent retail
market share in the country.
For the group as a whole, net profit fell 20 percent in the
fourth quarter to 685 million euros, but was well above the 520
million expected in a Reuters poll of 12 analysts.
Net profit was lower than last year because of a large
exceptional item in the fourth quarter of 2015, due to the
liquidation of a financial holding.
After paying an interim dividend of 1 euro in November, KBC
said it would propose to pay out another 1.80 euros in May.
($1 = 0.9362 euros)
(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Sunil Nair)