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KBC Group: First-quarter result of 506 million euros

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‘We recorded a net profit of 506 million euros in the first quarter of 2024. Compared to the result of the previous quarter, our total income benefited from several factors, including higher net interest income, net fee and commission income and insurance revenues, though these items were partly offset by lower levels of dividend income and trading & fair value income. Costs were up, since the bulk of the bank and insurance taxes for the full year are recorded – as usual – in the first quarter of the year. Disregarding bank and insurance taxes, costs fell by as much as 9% quarter-on-quarter and 1% year-on-year. Impairment charges too were down significantly, as the previous quarter had included a sizeable one-off impairment on goodwill.

Our loan portfolio continued to increase by 1% quarter-on-quarter and 4% year-on-year, with growth being recorded in each of the group’s core countries. Customer deposits were up 1% quarter-on-quarter and 1% year-on-year, despite the outflow of deposits triggered by the issue of the retail State Note (‘Staatsbon’) in Belgium at the start of September 2023.

We have always been at the forefront of new digital developments, the most visible example of which being our personal digital assistant Kate, which we continuously develop further with the aim of ensuring maximum convenience for our customers. To date, around 4.5 million customers have already used Kate, up more than 40% on the year-earlier figure. Moreover, the proportion of cases resolved fully autonomously by Kate continues to improve and now stands at 65% in both Belgium and the Czech Republic, up from 57% and 54% respectively a year ago.

As regards our ongoing share buyback programme of 1.3 billion euros, we had already bought back approximately 15.3 million shares for a total consideration of approximately 0.9 billion euros by the end of April 2024. The programme is planned to run until 31 July 2024.

On 15 May 2024, we paid a final dividend of 3.15 euros per share, bringing the total dividend for full-year 2023 to 4.15 euros per share. In line with our announced capital deployment plan for full-year 2023, the Board of Directors has also decided to distribute the surplus capital above a fully loaded common equity ratio of 15% (approximately 280 million euros) in the form of an extraordinary interim dividend of 0.70 euros per share on 29 May 2024.

Our solvency position remained strong, with a fully loaded common equity ratio of 14.9% at the end of March 2024 (which already fully incorporates the effect of the ongoing share buyback programme of 1.3 billion euros and the extraordinary interim dividend of 0.70 euros per share). Not taking into account the extraordinary interim dividend, our common equity ratio would have been 15.2%. Our liquidity position remained very solid too, with an LCR of 162% and NSFR of 139%.

In closing, I would like to sincerely thank all our customers, employees, shareholders and other stakeholders for their trust and support. More than anything else, that trust and support is and remains fundamental to the success of our group, now and in the future.’

Johan Thijs
Chief Executive Office

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