February 27, 2018 / 7:25 AM / in 10 months

Israel's Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank Q4 profit up 38 pct

JERUSALEM, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Mizrahi-Tefahot, Israel’s third-largest bank, reported a 38 percent jump in quarterly net profit and said starting in 2018 it would raise its dividend payment to 40 percent of net profit.

Mizrahi said on Tuesday it earned 365 million shekels ($104.8 million) in the fourth quarter, up from 265 million a year earlier. Financing income before expenses for credit losses rose to 1.19 billion shekels from 1.07 billion, while the credit loss provision slipped to 60 million shekels from 81 million.

For the quarter, the bank will distribute a dividend of 110 million shekels — 30 percent of net profit — following a dividend of 78.3 million in the third quarter.

Starting in the first quarter of 2018, Mizrahi said it will pay a dividend of 40 percent of profit.

The bank’s Tier I capital ratio, a key measure of its financial strength, rose to 10.2 percent at the end of 2017 from 10.1 percent at the end of 2016.

Mizrahi in November said it had agreed to buy smaller rival Union Bank of Israel for around 1.4 billion shekels in shares to better compete with the country’s top two lenders. ($1 = 3.4840 shekels) (Reporting by Tova Cohen; Editing by Tova Cohen)

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