UBS sticks to dividend, capital return plans after French verdict

Swiss bank says court’s decision and the €800m damages ‘incomprehensible’

UBS is the world’s largest wealth manager. Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

UBS is the world’s largest wealth manager. Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

 

UBS plans to stick to its proposed dividend for 2018, chief executive Sergio Ermotti said on Friday, two days after the Swiss bank was hit with a €4.5 billion penalty in a French tax ruling that the bank has appealed.

A French court on Wednesday found the Swiss bank guilty of illegally soliciting clients and laundering the proceeds of tax evasion, ordering it to pay penalties including damages of €800 million to the French state.

UBS said the court’s decision was “incomprehensible” and that the bank would appeal. In a separate newspaper interview, Mr Ermotti was quoted as saying negotiations with French authorities initially involved discussions of a settlement figure of as little as €40-€100 million euros.

Speaking to analysts and investors on a call to review the implications of the French ruling, he said: “There is no intention to deviate from our proposed 2018 dividend of 0.70 Swiss francs per share.”

UBS, the world’s largest wealth manager, is now assessing how the ruling will affect its finances and whether it must bulk up on litigation provisions. – Reuters