August 12, 2019 / 11:02 AM / a month ago

Israel's Mizrahi Tefahot Bank second-quarter profit tops estimates, resumes dividends

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Mizrahi Tefahot (MZTF.TA), Israel’s third-largest bank, reported on Monday it more than doubled its second-quarter profit, boosted in part by a provision a year earlier to settle a U.S. tax-evasion investigation.

Mizrahi earned 576 million shekels ($165 million) in the April to June period, up from 207 million a year earlier. It was forecast to earn 500 million shekels, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.

Earlier this year Mizrahi admitted to helping clients evade U.S. taxes and agreed to pay a $195 million fine, ending a five-year investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. [nL1N20Z1SS]In the second quarter of 2018, it set aside 425 million shekels in respect to the investigation.

The bank said it had resumed dividend distributions to shareholders this quarter after halting them a year ago to set aside money for the U.S. tax probe. It said it would pay out 392 million shekels for the first half of 2019.

Financing income before credit losses rose to 1.63 billion shekels from 1.47 billion a year earlier, while the credit loss provision increased to 99 million shekels from 90 million.

The bank’s Tier I capital ratio, a key measure of its financial strength, increased to 10.23% at the end of June from 10.12% a year at the end of March and 9.95% a year earlier.

Reporting by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Steven Scheer

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