Israel's Bank Hapoalim's Quarterly Rise Exceeds Highest Estimate

Israel's largest lending bank earned 802 million shekels ($206 million), up from 718 million a year earlier.

Tomer Appelbaum

REUTERS - Bank Hapoalim, Israel's largest lender, reported on November 15 a higher-than-expected rise in quarterly net profit, boosted by an increase in financing income and a decline in the provision for credit losses and in operating expenses.

Hapoalim on Sunday said it earned 802 million shekels ($206 million) in the third quarter, up from 718 million a year earlier and above a forecast of 760 million according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The bank was due to announce its quarterly results on Nov. 19 but was forced to move up the announcement after it accidentally sent a draft of the press release to analysts in an email regarding its conference call.

Net financing income edged up to 2.179 billion shekels from 2.16 billion, while its provision for credit losses fell to 55 million shekels from 80 million in the third quarter of 2014. Fees and other income increased 3.8 percent.

Hapoalim's core Tier 1 capital ratio to risk-weighted assets was 9.5 percent according to Basel 3, compared with 9.3 percent at the end of 2014.

The bank's board approved a dividend of 160 million shekels for the third quarter, or 0.1208 shekel per share. ($1 = 3.8860 shekels)