* 250 jobs to go, Swiss arm to be shut
* Targets combined net profit of 300 mln Sfr for next three
* 2012 net profit 97.9 mln vs 15.4 mln Sfr in 2011
* 7 mln Sfr in restructuring charge
ZURICH, March 22 Liechtenstein's second-biggest
bank, LLB said on Friday it would cut 23 percent of its
staff and close its Swiss arm as it responds to an international
crackdown on undeclared Swiss funds.
The tiny European principality has been quicker than
Switzerland to succumb to pressure on banking secrecy laws, the
so-called "lift the kimono" among private bankers. However, its
banks have struggled with the resulting drop in client assets.
Wealth manager LLB has also been slower than some of its
rivals like Switzerland's Julius Baer to offset the
fund withdrawals at home by tapping new growth markets in Asia.
However, analysts welcomed LLB's restructuring plans, which
will see it shed 250 of its 1,090 total headcount, mainly in
Switzerland. Investors liked a rise in dividend to 1.50 Swiss
francs from 0.30 a year earlier - still a far cry from 3.40
francs it paid between 2008 and 2010 - sending its shares higher
in morning trade.
"Over the next three years, we will consistently focus our
financial and personnel resources on clearly defined client
segments and markets with potential," Roland Matt, chief
executive of the majority state-owned bank said in a statement.
Liechtensteinische Landesbank, or LLB, is targeting a
combined net profit of more than 300 million Swiss francs in the
next three years. It made a net profit of 97.9 million francs in
2012, up sharply from 2011 when profits dived and it slashed its
The bank will charge 7 mln francs for the restructuring
against future earnings, it said.
"We welcome the strategy change and focus of LLB, which goes
much further than that of VP Bank," said Zuercher Kantonalbank
analyst Andreas Venditti, who rates the stock at marketweight.
Rival VP Bank recently named its third CEO is four
years, part of an effort to stanch outflows of client assets.
LLB suffered a net outflow of client funds of 342 million
Swiss francs in 2012, with over 1 billion francs of withdrawals
in traditional markets, particularly Germany, outweighing more
than 500 million of inflows, largely from Russia, Kazakhstan and
By contrast, Liechtenstein's biggest bank LGT, owned by the
royal family, said last week it attracted 10.5 billion Swiss
francs in net new assets last year.
Banking has helped make the 36,000 inhabitants of the 160
square-kilometre principality wedged in the Alps between Austria
and Switzerland, among the world's wealthiest, with national
output per head seen at $141,000 in 2012.
But LLB's profits have slid in recent years before
recovering in 2012. The spectre of a U.S. probe into how LLB and
a host of other banks helped wealthy Americans avoid paying tax
has also loomed over the bank. [IDD:nL6N0AV2O7]
At 1419 GMT, LLB stock traded 0.6 percent higher, having
gained as much as 2.2 percent in earlier trade and outpacing VP,
which slid 2.3 percent. The Stoxx 600 bank index was
($1 = 0.9456 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by Katharina Bart. Martin de Sa'Pinto in Zurich
contributed reporting.; Editing by Clelia Oziel)