August 13, 2019 / 9:28 AM / 6 days ago

Israel's First International Bank Q2 profit up, beats estimates

TEL AVIV, Aug 13 (Reuters) - First International Bank of Israel (FIBI), the country’s fifth-largest bank by assets, reported on Tuesday a rise in quarterly income and said efficiencies from a recent merger and employee retirement would drive down expenses.

FIBI posted second-quarter net profit of 224 million shekels ($64 million), up from 219 million a year earlier and above a forecast of 205 million shekels in a Reuters poll.

It said net earnings were up 16.1% excluding a 33 million shekel sale of assets and 7 million shekels of expenses related to its merger with smaller rival Otzar Hachayal incurred during the second quarter last year.

Net interest income grew to 642 million shekels from 561 million, while credit loss expenses decreased to 23 million shekels from 54 million.

“The improvement in efficiency at the bank is the outcome of the efficiency measures which we have taken, which are being reflected gradually, mainly following the merger with Otzar Hachayal Bank and the retirement of employees under voluntary retirement plans,” said CEO Smadar Barber-Tsadik.

Its Tier 1 capital ratio rose to 10.86% from 10.53% in the first quarter and 10.1% a year earlier.

FIBI said it would pay a dividend of 110 million shekels to reflect a payout of up to 50% of net earnings.

$1 = 3.4905 shekels Reporting by Rami Ayyub Editing by Steven Scheer

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