AMSTERDAM: ABN Amro, the nationalized Dutch bank, reported a return to profit in the fourth quarter and said the outlook for 2015 is good, as it seeks to convince politicians it is ready to become a listed company again.
ABN reported an underlying net profit of 400 million euros ($454.20 million), against a loss of 47 million euros in the same period a year ago.
Chief Executive Gerrit Zalm said the figures reflected a return to growth in the Dutch economy, and a recovery in the housing market.
The bank reported improvements in key industry metrics, most notably its capital ratio, which has risen to 14.1 percent from 12.2 percent.
“That’s just rock solid,” Zalm said in a videotaped statement. He has publicly lobbied for ABN to return to the market with an initial public offering of shares sooner rather than later.
Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem is expected to present a decision on ABN’s privatisation to parliament for debate in March.
ABN Amro said its cost to income ratio improved to 60 percent from 64 percent, while return on equity was unchanged at 10.9 percent.
Zalm forecast further improvements this year, with the fall in the oil price and the euros decline against the dollar both positive factors for the export oriented Dutch economy.
That should lead to lower loan impairment charges this year, he said.
But he said ABN’s regulatory compliance costs will rise.
“The financial industry is subject to increasingly detailed rules and regulations which come at a cost,” he said. “The various mandatory charges are expected to go up significantly in 2015.”