* Assets under management rise to 78.7 billion Sfr
* Margin rises to 105 basis points from 94 bp
* Bank proposes unchanged dividend of 0.10 Sfr
(Adds analyst, shares, background)
ZURICH, Feb 26 Private bank EFG International
swung to a net profit in 2012 as margins improved after
it shut unprofitable businesses and slashed the number of its
private bankers, sending shares sharply higher.
The mid-sized wealth manager reported a profit of 111
million Swiss francs ($119.2 million) in 2012, compared with a
294 million franc loss a year earlier.
"All loss-making businesses have been exited, with the
number of locations reduced by 20," the Zurich-based bank said
in a statement.
EFG's gross margin jumped to 105 basis points from 94 basis
points a year earlier, while the bank's BIS capital ratio - a
measure of financial strength - rose to 18.1 percent from 12.9
"The impressive increase in EFG's core capital should be the
biggest driver of share price gains," said Berenberg analyst
Eleni Papoula in a note.
"Over the past year, EFG has exited 20 out of 50 locations,
reduced its total headcount by 14 percent and has almost tripled
its tangible book value."
The sharp rise in book value was largely due to the bank
buying back preferential shares, which were senior to normal
shares and so weighed on the ratio.
Shares jumped 9.7 percent to 12.40 francs, outperforming
peer Vontobel and larger rival Julius Baer,
which were respectively slightly higher and flat.
Last year, EFG sold its fund administration unit to Credit
Agricole's CAECIS, and EFG Bank Denmark to SEB Wealth
Management, as well as listing its structured products
EFG slashed the number of its private bankers to 477 from
675 two years ago.
The bank's assets under management rose to 78.7 billion
francs at year-end as 3 billion francs of new assets in
continuing businesses offset funds lost from units sold or
Assets stood at 76.5 billion at the end of June, when EFG
said its restructuring process was largely complete. The bank
said it would propose an ordinary dividend of 0.10 Swiss francs
per share, unchanged from 2011.
The wealth manager faces competition at home from rivals
Vontobel and Sarasin, now owned by Brazilian-Swiss bank Safra.
($1 = 0.9315 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by Martin de Sa'Pinto; Editing by Louise Heavens and