Handelsbanken profits rise as it plans 12 more branches in the UK

Tim Wallace
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BRITISH operations of Nordic lender Handelsbanken expanded rapidly again in the first half of the year, the group reported yesterday.

Operating profits in the UK increased five per cent on the year to 276m Swedish krona (£27.6m).

Household lending jumped 28 per cent to £3.1bn, while corporate lending rose 19 per cent on the previous year to £8.3bn. Deposits increased by 14 per cent to £3bn.

The bank opened nine new UK branches in the second quarter, taking its total footprint in the country to 147 outlets.

And it has recruited managers to open another 12 in the near future.

Headcount in the UK shot up to 1,201, up 31 per cent on the 917 employed a year ago.

Meanwhile the group overall recorded profits of 7.2bn krona, an increase of nine per cent on the year.

That takes return on equity to 14.2 per cent, down a touch on the 14.3 per cent a year earlier, while its core tier on capital ratio under Basel III rules came in at 17.8 per cent.

Handelsbanken added it will be affected by the Swedish authorities’ decision to introduce a tougher new capital requirement equivalent to a 15 per cent risk weight floor for Swedish mortgage loan portfolios.

“In the bank’s assessment, this entails a capital requirement in Pillar 2 of approximately 7bn krona,” the bank said in a statement.

The group’s capital markets operations also recorded steady growth.

The unit, which includes investment banking and asset management operations, as well as trading in financial instruments and structured products, saw profits rise four per cent to 3.1 krona.

Commission income increased 10 per cent to 2.4bn krona, with mutual funds and custody profits up 16 per cent to 1.2bn krona.

However insurance profits fell, dipping eight per cent on the year.

The bank’s shares dipped 1.97 per cent on the day.