August 15, 2019 / 6:31 AM / 6 months ago

Net profit down nearly a third at Dutch lender Rabobank

FILE PHOTO: The Rabobank logo is seen at its headquarters in Utrecht, Netherlands August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Eva Plevier

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Rabobank reported a 29% fall in first-half net profit on Thursday, which the Dutch cooperative lender blamed on rising impairment charges, restructuring costs and low interest rates.

Rabobank, the largest Dutch mortgage bank and a leading lender in the North American agriculture sector, said net profit fell to 1.2 billion euros (1.1 billion pounds) in the six-month period from 1.7 billion euros a year earlier.

Impairment charges on financial assets increased by 477 million euros from the first half of 2018, which equates to 21 basis points of the average loan portfolio, versus a long-term average of 32 basis points, said the bank, whose main domestic rivals are ABN Amro (ABNd.AS) and ING (INGA.AS).

“Significant impairments were seen in the Netherlands, France and Brazil,” it said. “At the current level impairment charges are trending upward towards the long-term average.”

Rabobank Chairman Wiebe Draijer said global economic developments threatened stability and growth prospects, although the company did not provide a specific financial outlook.

“Take for example the escalating trade war between the United States and China, the growing likelihood of a hard Brexit and the persistent low interest rate environment,” Draijer said in a statement.

The bank, which has been going through a long restructuring, said its global staff numbers declined nearly 4% to just under 42,000.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by David Holmes

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