By Xavier Fontdegloria

 

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A.'s profit in the fourth quarter rose more than expected as revenue increased and provisions fell.

The Spanish lender posted a net profit of 1.34 billion euros ($1.51 billion), a 1.6% increase compared with the EUR1.32 billion registered the same period a year earlier. Analysts expected BBVA to report a profit of EUR1.04 billion, according to a consensus forecast provided by the bank.

BBVA said net interest income--the difference between what lenders earn from loans and pay for deposits, a key profit driver for retail banks--rose 14% on year to EUR3.98 billion in the fourth quarter, while net fees and commissions income increased 20% to EUR1.25 billion. Impairments on financial assets dropped to EUR832 million in the period from EUR901 a year earlier.

The bank's fully-loaded common equity Tier 1 ratio decreased to 12.75% in December from 14.48% in September due to the EUR3.5 billion share-buyback program.

The lender said it will carry out the second tranche of the repurchase program, for a maximum of EUR2.0 billion, once the EUR1.5 billion first tranche is finished. The buyback is expected to be fully executed before Oct. 15.

BBVA declared an additional dividend of 23 European cents a share in relation to its results for 2021. That would bring the total dividend for the year to 31 European cents a share, the highest in cash in a decade, it said.

The Spanish bank said it expects core revenues to grow at an around double-digit rate in 2022, while it anticipates a cost of risk--the ratio of provisions to expected loan losses--of around 1%. The metric stood at 0.93% in December.

 

Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at xavier.fontdegloria@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 03, 2022 03:30 ET (08:30 GMT)

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