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KBC Group: Second-quarter result of 210 million euros

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Brussels, 6 August 2020 (07.00 a.m. CEST)

KBC Group: Second-quarter result of 210 million euros

The quarter under review started with the society in lockdown due to the coronavirus crisis. Over and above the human suffering caused by the pandemic itself, this also triggered unprecedented economic consequences. Even though society is now gradually reopening, it is clear that the coronavirus crisis will have a significant impact, especially in particular sectors. However, the various relief measures implemented in our home countries may help contain the overall impact going forward. Obviously, the long-term impact on the economy also depends on the occurrence and intensity of new outbreaks of the virus now and in the coming months.

Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, we have been working hard with government agencies to support all customers impacted by coronavirus, by efficiently instituting relief measures – including loan deferrals – and adapting or extending these measures where necessary. In these difficult times, we have also managed to continue providing our customers in all our home markets with a high level of service, thanks in the main to the efforts and investments we have made over the past few years on the digital transformation front, in combination with the expertise and commitment of our employees in all our home countries. Meanwhile we will continue to work on solutions to proactively make life easier for our customers. The interaction between human and machine, between branch and digital app, supported by artificial intelligence and data analysis, plays a prominent role here. We will be communicating on this and other topics in more depth during a strategy update session on 12 November.

We believe that the world emerging from the coronavirus crisis will have to be a more sustainable one and we are working tirelessly to contribute to such a scenario. With that in mind, we successfully launched our second green bond in June for the amount of 500 million euros. By issuing green bonds, we aim to create a closer link with socially responsible investors, to provide finance to customers directly involved in sustainable projects and to contribute to the development of a liquid and efficient green bond market, which would help to finance the transition to a low-carbon economy.

As regards our financial results, we generated a net profit of 210 million euros in the second quarter of 2020. The result was significantly impacted by the recording of 845 million euros in loan loss impairment charges, the bulk of which related to the potential economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis. In this regard, we wish to reiterate our guidance for full-year 2020, i.e. an estimated 1.1 billion euros in loan loss impairment charges. As expected, net interest income and net fee and commission income fell in the second quarter, while our non-life insurance result, on the other hand, was very solid and our life insurance business witnessed strong sales in the second quarter. What’s more, our trading and fair value result, which had been hit hard during the first quarter of the year, recovered to a large extent in the quarter under review. Last but not least, our strict cost control measures, together with the additional cost savings announced when the first-quarter results were published, helped reduce our operating expenses (excluding bank taxes) by 6% quarter-on-quarter and by 8% year-on-year.

Our solvency position remained very strong, with a common equity ratio of 16.6% on a fully loaded basis, well above the current minimum capital requirement of 7.95%. Our liquidity position remained solid too, with an LCR of 136% and an NSFR of 142% at the end of June 2020. As a result, our current capital and liquidity buffers allow us to face today's challenges with confidence. It should also be noted that, in line with the recent ECB recommendation, we cannot execute our usual dividend policy. As a consequence, no interim dividend will be paid out in November 2020.

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to explicitly thank all those stakeholders who have continued to put their trust in us. I can assure you that, in these challenging times, we remain fully committed to maintaining our position as the reference in bank-insurance in all our home markets.

Johan Thijs, Chief Executive Officer

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