Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Economics 03/03/2010: IL&P results FY2009

IL&P – the folks who pushed their mortgages lending to 300% of their deposit base – in the style of Northern Rock – have released their FY 2009 results this morning. Overall operating loss of €196 million for 2009 represents a swing of €537 million against the profit of €341m in 2008 reported in 2008. This takes some doing to achieve for a book of loans valued roughly at €39 billion (and that is widely optimistic – the total lending book declined from €40.1bn in 2008 to €38.6bn in 2009 – a decline that is hardly reflective of the peers).

When considered against the Irish Life division operating profit of €102 million (down from €284 million in 2008) the Permanent bit of IL&P is emerging as a seriously weak link. The bank posted a loss of €270 million with operating loss of €280m – a swing of €310 million on €30 million profit in 2008. Bad debt provisions are set at €376 million – assuming relatively static deterioration in 2010 compared to 2009. Total expected provision for 2009-2011 crisis period is standing around €900-950 million. I am not sure this is realistic, given the fact that mortgages are now starting to show increasing stress – with anticipated lag of legal process and for work-through of savings cushions by distressed households. In contrast with all rational expectations, IL&P management commented that home arrears growth was slowing. Good luck to them.

Capital ratios remain flat over 2009 - Total Tier 1 of 9.2% - hefty, healthy, but… one has to remember that IL&P has a much heavier T1 requirement due to life insurance business side. Translated into banks ratios, this implies effective banking side Tier 1 of roughly 6-6.5% - still better than AIB or BofI, but has some room for improvement. Given the overall reluctance of the Permanent side to take realistic writedowns on mortgages, I would suspect there will be renewed pressure on Tier 1 in months to come.
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