PRAGUE, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Czech lender MONETA Money Bank reported fourth-quarter profit above expectations on Friday and surprised the market with a high 9.8 crown dividend proposal.
The bank said total dividend payout, subject to approval by shareholders, would be 5 billion crowns, which equals 123 percent of the 2016 profit of 4.05 billion.
The bank had guided for 100-110 percent payout, and analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast on average an 8.3 crown dividend. The proposed payout would give an 11.4 percent dividend yield at Thursday's closing price of 86.25 crowns.
The bank said the dividend was driven by excess capital, with CET1 capital ratio growing to 20.5 percent from 17.7 percent, above the bank's target of 15.5 percent.
"Amount of excess capital increased to CZK 5.5 bln and is available for dividend distribution, loan book growth, investment in intangibles," and implementing new international accounting standards, IFRS9, the bank said in a statement.
MONETA said the dividend target for the years ahead was 70 percent, and forecast net profit of at least 3.4 billion this year.
Fourth-quarter after-tax income was 867 million crowns, above forecast of 794 million but below 1.0 billion a year ago.
Fourth-quarter operating income dropped to 2.72 billion from 2.99 billion a year ago, but was also above market expectation.
The bank targets operating income above 10.3 billion this year, down from 11.06 billion last year.
The bank entered the Prague Stock Exchange in May last year as GE Capital gradually exited the bank. The stock has gained 27 percent from the IPO price. (Reporting by Jan Lopatka)