November 28, 2017 / 6:08 AM / a year ago

Israel's Bank Hapoalim Q3 profit falls on US tax probe provision

TEL AVIV, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest lender, reported lower quarterly net profit, weighed down by a provision for a U.S. tax investigation and the discontinuation of its activities in Switzerland.

Hapoalim said on Tuesday it earned 469 million shekels ($134 million) in the third quarter, down from 699 million shekels a year earlier. Excluding the provisions, net profit would have been 861 million shekels compared with 819 million shekels forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Last week the bank said it would provision an additional $80 million in the third quarter to cover a possible future settlement in a U.S. tax evasion investigation, bringing the total amount provisioned for the case to $268.5 million.

Profit from regular financing activity rose 6.3 percent to 2.28 billion shekels in the quarter while net credit loss expenses amounted to 25 million shekels compared with income of 118 million a year earlier.

Its core Tier 1 capital ratio to risk-weighted assets, a key measure of financial strength, rose to 11.26 percent from 11.01 percent at the end of 2016.

The bank declared a quarterly dividend of 188 million shekels for a payout of 40 percent of net profit. ($1 = 3.5016 shekels) (Reporting by Tova Cohen; Editing by Steven Scheer)

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