Statement by Carlo Messina, Q3 2019 Results
Milano, 5 November 2019 - We are particularly pleased with the first nine months of 2019. Despite a more challenging operating environment than expected, Intesa Sanpaolo confirmed its ability to achieve significant results, in line with the objective of delivering a 2019 net income that is higher than in 2018. We also confirm an 80% payout ratio and are therefore in line with our commitment to reward our shareholders once again with a significant dividend.
Net income for the first nine months of the year, at € 3.31 billion, is the best nine-month result since 2008, thanks to our solid core operating performance; we have already matched 82% of our full-year 2018 net income. Excluding the contributions paid to support the Italian banking system, net profit stands at € 3.6 billion.
Q3 results were also excellent: we delivered the best third-quarter net income since 2007 and the best-ever third-quarter commissions.
Low interest rates together with a lower spread are an opportunity for our wealth management business. The Group’s asset management division is working at full-speed to convert into Assets under Management the roughly € 240 billion in savings that our Italian customers hold as Assets under Administration or sight deposits. The first positive results are evident in Q3 and the outlook is even better.
We further strengthened our balance sheet. With 16 consecutive quarters of NPL reductions since the peak in 2015, the stock of NPLs has declined by about € 33 billion to the lowest level since 2009. We achieved this at no cost to our shareholders. NPL inflows in the first nine months reached the lowest level since the creation of Intesa Sanpaolo, thanks to our proactive credit management and to the quality of our business clients, which are now much more solid and profitable than they were before the 2008 crisis.
The speed of our NPL reductions is well ahead of our 2018-2021 Business Plan timeline. In just 21months, we have already reached about 80% of the four-year target.
The Bank's capital solidity, well above regulatory requirements, is increasing and rank us at the top of the sector in Europe. The Common Equity Tier 1 ratio was 14.2% at the end of September, nearly five basis points above requirements, net of € 2.6 billion set aside in the nine months for the 2019 dividend. We have € 14 billion in excess capital, while having paid out € 13.4 billion in cash dividends in the last five years.
The cost/income ratio for the first nine months was 49.8% and places us at the top of European banks in terms of efficiency. We are very pleased with this result which we achieved while investing significantly in digital, wealth management and employee training.
Intesa Sanpaolo is a catalyst for growth of Italy’s real economy: in the first nine months of 2019, medium/long-term credit to households and businesses in Italy totaled more than € 32 billion.
We continued to work alongside companies to overcome momentary distress: during the first nine months, we helped around 15,000 companies return to performing status. Since 2014, we have helped 108,000 companies recover, a significant figure considering the 4 positive impact on employment – with more than half a million jobs saved - and on supplier companies.
For Intesa Sanpaolo, value creation is interpreted broadly. As one of the most solid and profitable banks in Europe, we must be an engine for our country's social economy and promote a large-scale project for economic inclusion and poverty alleviation.
To support the most needy, we have launched major projects and partnerships for the distribution of meals, beds, medicines and clothing, with nearly 6 million interventions so far.
Our concrete commitment to the Circular Economy through a € 5 billion credit plafond has so far approved credits for around € 750 million to support the first 50 initiatives.
We are also promoters of significant cultural initiatives throughout Italy. Intesa Sanpaolo's three museums, the Gallerie d'Italia, hosted some 350,000 visitors during the first nine months. We also loaned over 200 works of art from our collection to other Italian and international museums.
We initiated our Impact Fund with an unsecured loan for the over 1.6 million university students in Italy, convinced that investment in education is a key element for the country’s growth. In the first seven months, disbursements reached € 5.6 million.
Convinced that job training plays an equally important role in the competitiveness of our economy, we launched a project to train and introduce 5,000 young Italians to the workforce.
We achieved these results thanks to our people in Italy and abroad. I want to thank them for the professionalism and responsibility with which they carry out their work, enabling us to continue to deliver all the objectives set in our Business Plan.