By Victoria Klesty and Gwladys Fouche
OSLO (Reuters) – Norway’s largest bank DNB reported its best ever third-quarter earnings on Thursday after the country ended pandemic restrictions, and announced it would now make a dividend payment for 2020, sending its shares higher.
DNB’s net profit rose to 6.88 billion crowns ($826.88 million) for July-September from 5.55 billion crowns a year earlier, beating an average forecast of 5.76 billion crowns in a poll of analysts compiled by the firm.
The Nordic country dropped all domestic pandemic restrictions https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/norway-end-coronavirus-related-restrictions-saturday-2021-09-24 on Sept. 25. Some 86% of adults were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Wednesday.
Shares in DNB were up 1.9% at 0708 GMT, outperforming a flat Oslo benchmark index.
“All important indicators are pointing in the right direction. Norway has reopened, and the level of activity in the economy is now higher than it was before the shutdowns,” Chief Executive Kjerstin Braathen said in a statement.
“We are seeing a strong development in all areas of DNB.”
Fellow Nordic banks Nordea and Swedbank also posted rising third-quarter profit on Thursday partly due to economies reopening.
Following the record results, DNB will now pay a dividend of 9 crowns per share to its owners based on last year’s earnings.
Norwegian regulators had proscribed bank dividends due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but those restrictions have since been lifted.
The dividend payment is the maximum the bank’s owners permitted the board to pay out earlier this year.
($1 = 8.3204 Norwegian crowns)
(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche and Victoria Klesty; Editing by Edmund Blair and Christopher Cushing)