Norway’s DNB Posts Q4 Profit Rise as End of Lockdown Boosts Business

OSLO, Feb 10 (Reuters) – DNB (DNB.OL) on Thursday reported a 17% rise in fourth-quarter profit in line with forecasts, as the easing of coronavirus restrictions boosted Europe’s largest bank. Norway.

Net profit rose to 6.16 billion kronor ($698 million) for the October-December quarter from 5.27 billion a year earlier, in line with the 6.15 billion expected by analysts in a survey compiled by the bank. Once again much of the corporate sector is going full throttle,” CEO Kjerstin Braathen said in a statement.

DNB proposed a dividend of 9.75 kroons per share for 2021, down from 9 kroons a year earlier but lower than the 9.94 kroons expected by analysts.

Net interest income rose 8.5% to 806 million kroons, and while its return on equity of 10.7% in 2021 fell short of its target of over 12%, it said it would by the end of 2023. helped in part by rising interest rates. Norway’s central bank began raising its key policy rate in September last year after a series of cuts in 2020 left it at an unprecedented zero percent.

An outbreak of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in late November has been traced to a superspread event at a restaurant in central Oslo, prompting the Norwegian government to reintroduce some nationwide restrictions to curb the spread.

But while the number of hospitalizations rose in the Nordic country last month following a spike in COVID-19 infections, it has now been declining for several weeks, even as more people have tested positive for the virus.

Children will face fewer restrictions, so it will be easier to avoid homeschooling. Youth sports activities will also be allowed to resume, although adult sports will remain restricted, the government said. In many cases, the quarantines will be replaced by a mandatory testing regimen, he added.