Shares of Italy’s UniCredit jump 10% and hit eight-year high on earnings beat

A logo on the UniCredit SpA headquarters in Milan, Italy, on Saturday Jan. 22, 2022.

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Shares of Italian bank UniCredit hit their highest level since 2015 on Monday, after announcing that it would return 8.6 billion euros ($9.2 billion) to investors on the back of higher-than-expected profits.

The Milan-based bank shared details of the planned payout after reporting fourth-quarter profits of 1.9 billion euros, almost three times analysts’ expectations.

Shares of the stock were up 10% by 11 a.m. London time.

The payout, which will be delivered through a combination of buybacks and dividends, follows a strong year for the bank, which has been buoyed by higher interest rates.

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The bank added that it would adopt a 90% payout policy from this year. UniCredit’s “stated” net income in the October-December period came in at 2.8 billion euros, more than double a 1.2 billion euro ($1.3 billion) average analyst consensus forecast provided by the bank.

Revenues also surpassed expectations, while UniCredit booked lower than forecast costs and provisions against loan losses.

Italy’s second-largest lender has tripled its value since Chief Executive Andrea Orcel took the reins in 2021, leading gains among European banks.

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