November 21, 2017 / 7:06 AM / in a year

Israel's Bank Leumi Q3 beats estimates, raises dividend

TEL AVIV, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Bank Leumi, Israel’s second-largest lender, beat forecasts for third quarter net profit on Tuesday and raised its quarterly dividend payout to 40 percent of profit from 20 percent.

Leumi said it earned 820 million shekels ($233 million) in the quarter, down from 919 million a year earlier. It had been forecast to earn 686 million shekels, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.

Leumi’s net interest income fell to 1.918 billion shekels in the quarter from 1.97 billion, while it had credit loss expenses of 3 million shekels compared with 106 million a year earlier.

The bank said it was raising its quarterly dividend payout to 40 percent of net profit and will distribute 328 million shekels for the third quarter. In March, Leumi adopted a dividend policy for the first time in six years, and had set a payout ratio of 20 percent of quarterly profit.

The bank’s tier 1 ratio, which measures equity capital as a proportion of total risk-weighted assets, rose to 11.35 percent at the end of September from 11.15 percent at the end of 2016. ($1 = 3.5187 shekels) (Reporting by Tova Cohen, Editing by Ari Rabinovitch)

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