Handelsbanken posts strong 2011 report

Sweden's second-biggest bank, Handelsbanken, posted much-improved earnings for the full-year 2011 largely thanks to a decline in credit losses, the company said on Wednesday.

Handelsbanken posts strong 2011 report

The bank registered a net profit of 12.32 billion kronor (1.40 billion euros, $1.84 billion) in 2011, up by 12 percent from the previous year. In the fourth quarter alone, profit was up by five percent to 3.05 billion, compared to the 3.13 billion forecast by analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires.

Loan losses, an indicator of the economic and financial crisis, were almost cut in half in 2011 from 2010, down by 46 percent to 816 million kronor.

For the period from October to December, loan losses dropped by 17 percent from the previous year to 243 million kronor, while analysts had expected the figure to come in around 239 million.

Net interest income rose by 11 percent in 2011 to 23.61 billion. In the final quarter alone, it climbed 13 percent from the corresponding quarter a year earlier to 6.36 billion, beating the 6.15 billion forecast by analysts.

The Handelsbanken share was up 1.88 percent in a Stockholm market up 1.28

percent in early afternoon trading.

Handelsbanken, which exited unfazed from the 2008-2009 crisis in the Baltic countries where its Swedish rivals Nordea, SEB and Swedbank had invested heavily, has however lagged behind its competitors after the economic recovery.

Like all of the banks in the Nordic region, Handelsbanken passed the European stress tests in 2011, with a Core Tier 1 capital ratio of 8.6 percent, well above the required 5.0 percent.

At the end of 2011, the Basel 2 Tier 1 ratio was 18.4 percent, compared to

16.5 percent in 2010.

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Swedish banking giant sacks its top boss

Sweden's Handelsbanken has fired its chief executive, Frank Vang-Jensen.

Swedish banking giant sacks its top boss
Frank Vang-Jensen. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

He will be replaced by Anders Bouvin, who will take up the position with immediate effect, the bank said in a statement. 

The board of the bank decided unanimously to let Vang-Jensen go after just a year and a half in the post. 

“This decision is purely related to the individual. Handelsbanken remains strong and our long-term goals stand firm,” said board chairman Pär Boman. 

He added that the post required a “special type of leadership”.

“Thus, it is possible to be an excellent leader and manager – as Frank Vang-Jensen has been – but not fulfil the requirements of CEO of Handelsbanken.” 

His successor, Anders Bouvin, has been Executive Vice President since 2002. He was posted in New York and Denmark before most recently heading up the bank’s operation in the UK.  

“Anders Bouvin has worked at Handelsbanken for more than 30 years and is totally familiar with the Bank’s working methods, culture and values. For the past ten years, he has worked at Handelsbanken in the UK, where he has built up a national branch network with stable finances, good profitability – and by far the most satisfied customers in the market,” said Boman.