March 26, 2013 / 3:31 PM / 5 years ago

Swedbank CFO says buybacks not on the cards this year

STOCKHOLM, March 26 (Reuters) - Swedbank’s chief financial officer said on Tuesday it was highly unlikely it would restart its share buyback programme this year as it wants to have a complete picture on regulations first.

“I don’t rule out us having a buyback programme at some point in time in the future, but there is nothing on the agenda at this point in time since there are a lot of open question marks for us,” Goran Bronner told Reuters in an interview.

Asked if there was any chance buybacks could happen this year, Bronner said: “That would be highly unlikely.”

Swedish banks are some of Europe’s most well-capitalised financial institutions, a factor which has kept their funding costs down and made their shares attractive to risk-averse investors.

Swedbank announced in January it was raising its dividend payout ratio to a hefty 75 percent from 50 percent, and the market expects the bank will still have surplus capital for shareholders in the years ahead as lending growth remains low.

“By all parameters we see today, we look very well-capitalised,” Bronner said, adding that he would not know what was “excess capital” until regulations were fully finalised. (Reporting by Mia Shanley and Oskar von Bahr)

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