Maria Rousseva, CEO BRD-Groupe Societe Generale: "We are still aiming for the third position in the market"

English Section / 9 februarie

Maria Rousseva, CEO BRD-Groupe Societe Generale: "We are still aiming for the third position in the market"

Versiunea în limba română

"We do not comment on rumours", said the director of BRD regarding a possible sale of the bank

The financial group reported a profit of 1.65 billion lei last year, up 24%

The BRD Council will propose that 60% of the bank's profit be distributed as dividends

BRD-Groupe Societe Generale (BRD) continues to aim for the third position in the market, Maria Rousseva, CEO of the financial group, said yesterday during the press conference where the institution presented its results obtained last year, adding that it does not comment on rumors appeared in the press last week regarding a possible sale of the bank.

Maria Rousseva said: "BRD is a listed company that has to be very responsible about what it communicates to all stakeholders. We do not comment on rumours, especially of this kind. But it is very important to mention that our group, Societe Generale, has very strictly defined criteria based on which it evaluates its portfolio of subsidiaries, of businesses. BRD's picture is very positive. We are a large and growing bank in a large and growing market. We have traditionally been very synergistic between our companies, between the group's business lines, and our strong results are achieved on a very solid commercial basis."

Recently, the news appeared in the press that Societe Generale, the majority shareholder of BRD, hired JP Morgan to find a buyer for the credit institution in our country.

The director of BRD emphasized that, last year, the bank's market share on the lending side increased by 0.5%, a record increase for the credit institution.

"Strong competition helps us to improve. For example, developments related to digitization have also been achieved due to the competition we have from other banks. I would say that, on the one hand, competition can be seen as a positive challenge because it helps us grow. As the manager of BRD I can tell you that it is beneficial for us to be in competition with strong banks. We will continue to aim for the third position in the market and we have managed to increase our market share. We have a very solid basis for this," said Maria Rousseva.

According to the BRD director, there are always opportunities for growth both organically and through acquisitions. "BRD has preferred the strategy of organic growth in recent years, and now it is confirmed that this is possible. For this year, the plan is exactly the same. For the future we cannot say for sure that this will be the only way of growth, but in the last years we have grown organically and we have shown that we can do this (...). Generally speaking, the market is very attractive and BRD has a good position", said Maria Rousseva.

BRD's third position in the market is threatened by the merger between UniCredit and Alpha Bank, which will probably be completed this year and whose combined market share would amount to 12%.

In October last year, BRD had a market share of 10.17%, according to data from the National Bank of Romania, taken over by Economedia.

For the past year, BRD-Groupe Societe Generale reported a preliminary consolidated net profit of 1.65 billion lei, 24% over the previous year, while net banking income rose 11% to 3.83 billions of lei. At an individual level, BRD reported a net profit of 1.63 billion lei, 27% more than in 2022.

According to the credit institution's report, the main drivers of revenue growth were higher volumes and high market interest rates. Net interest income increased 15% annually, up to 2.72 billion lei at the consolidated level, the dynamics being tempered by higher expenses, mainly associated with growing term deposits. The net income from commissions remained quite stable compared to the level of 2022, at 750.2 million lei, against the background of counterbalancing effects: lower income from card activity, considering the increase in the penetration of current account packages, in line with the market trend, the contraction of commissions for cash transactions, mainly on a basic effect, but increasing revenues from lending, insurance and capital markets activities.

Return on equity (ROE) reached 21% compared to 15.9% in 2022, BRD also mentions.

The bank's Board of Directors will propose a dividend corresponding to a distribution rate of 60% of the bank's net profit for 2023, i.e. a gross dividend of 1.407 lei per share.

The French from Societe Generale own 60% of the financial group, whose shareholders also include pension funds, investment funds, SIFs and individuals.