January 31, 2018 / 6:16 AM / 8 months ago

SEB raises dividend as Q4 profit beats expectations

STOCKHOLM, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Swedish banking group SEB proposed raising its dividend for 2017 as it reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter operating earnings on the back of rising commission income and lower loan losses.

SEB’s operating profit in the quarter fell to 4.22 billion Swedish crowns ($536 million) from 5.56 billion in the year-ago period, beating a mean forecast for 3.64 billion in a Reuters poll of analysts.

The operating profit was affected by a 1.9 billion Swedish crown writedown announced earlier this month.

The bank said it would propose a dividend of 5.75 crowns per share compared to an average forecast of 5.82 crowns in the poll and 5.50 crowns in 2016. Excluding items affecting comparability, the pay-out ratio was 70 per cent.

SEB’s target is to distribute 40 percent or more of earnings per share and it paid out 75 percent of profits for 2016. ($1 = 7.8670 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Johan Ahlander; editing by Niklas Pollard)

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