On 9 March 2023, APS Bank plc published its Annual Report and Financial Statements for the financial year ended 31 December 2022, which included the IPO that was concluded in June 2022.
Net interest income increased by 17.6% to €65.1 million (2021: €55.4 million) as gross interest income advanced by 15.5% to just under €80 million whilst interest costs increased by 7.2% to €14.8 million. In this respect, APS explained that the improvement was mainly driven by the overall expansion of the Group’s loan books and fixed income portfolio, as well as the improved spreads on the syndicated loan book.
Excluding movements of financial instruments, non-interest income improved to €9.81 million (2021: €7.93 million) as the marginal decline in net fees and commission income was outweighed by improved business on foreign exchange activities and other income. However, the Group performance was dented by a €10.3 million loss in relation to the financial instruments portfolio primarily within APS Funds.
Overall, the Group’s net operating income before changes in expected credit losses (“ECL”) improved by 2.4% to €64.6 million compared to €63.1 million in the 2021 financial year. The financial performance was also enhanced by the net reversal of €0.25 million of impairment losses, which however was a lower reversal when compared to the release of €1.49 million in the previous year.
On the expenditure side, operating costs surged by 15.9% to €47 million largely driven by higher salaries but also including higher administrative expenses and depreciation and amortisation reflecting the implementation of Group’s growth strategy.
Meanwhile, the financial performance was dented by a €2.21 million share of loss of associates, also mostly related to a number of APS Funds in which the Bank holds an equity interest.
Overall, the APS Group reported a profit before tax of €15.7 million which is 35% lower than the reported figure of €24.1 million in 2021. After accounting for a tax charge of €9.89 million, the Group’s net profit figure for the year amounted to €5.77 million. However, since a loss of €2.24 million is attributable to non-controlling interests, the net profit attributable to equity holders amounted to €8.0 million, equivalent to €0.022 per share.
The Statement of Financial Position as at 31 December 2022 shows that total assets increased by 11.3% (or +€317 million) to €3.11 billion principally reflecting the higher levels of ‘Loans and advances to customers’ to €2.22 billion compared to €1.93 billion as at the end of 2021. In contrast, ‘Cash and balances with the Central Bank of Malta’ dropped to €85.9 million compared to €207.7 million at the end of 2021.
On the liabilities side, the major movement was the 11.5% increase (or +€278.9 million) in customer deposits to €2.71 billion. As a result, the loans-to-deposits ratio (including syndicated loans) improved to an all-time high of 87.1%.
Shareholders’ funds as at 31 December 2022 amounted to €250.4 million, which translates to a net asset value per share of €0.683. The bank’s capital ratios improved during 2022 through the €66 million equity raised in the IPO, that cushioned the negative impact on reserves (through other comprehensive income) due to the unrealised losses from market movements of investments held by the Bank. Overall, the Common Equity Tier 1 capital ratio increased to 15.2% from 12.8% as at 31 December 2021. Similarly, the Total Capital Ratio rose to 18.8% from 16.8% as at the end of 2021.
The Directors of APS are recommending the payment of a net final dividend of €0.0174 per share to shareholders as at close of trading on 12 April 2023, subject to approval during the upcoming Annual General Meeting which is scheduled to be held on 16 May 2023. Shareholders will have the option to receive the dividend either cash or in new ordinary shares at an attribution price of €0.57 per share. During the year, a net interim dividend of €0.005 per share was declared and settled via the issuance of new shares.
APS CEO Mr Marcel Cassar stated that although partly impacted by international developments which is creating a complex environment, Malta is experiencing higher economic growth, milder inflation, and lower unemployment than its EU counterparts, amid a stronger than expected tourism recovery and buoyant retail and property markets.
The CEO explained that “2023 has started on solid footing and we look forward to more exciting prospects for the APS Group, encouraged by strong customer confidence in our model and as opportunities to gain further market share continue to unfold.”