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Julius Baer Lowers Profit Expectations, Credit Provisions Rise

ZURICH, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Julius Baer on Monday dampened profit expectations after it booked valuation adjustments of 82 million Swiss francs ($92.6 million).

The Swiss bank said that of the 82 million francs in valuation adjustments, 70 million francs were booked against the group's credit portfolio after Oct. 31, 2023.

"The overall quality of the loan book and the balance sheet remains unaffected, with a consistently strong capitalisation and high liquidity providing ample capacity to absorb any risks resulting from the group's business," Julius Baer said in an interim update for the first 10 months of 2023.

"Mainly as a consequence of the rise in credit provisions and ... increase in the effective tax rate, the group currently does not expect the full year 2023 net profit level to match the one achieved in 2022."

Business Insider reported that Baer lent hundreds of millions of francs to the struggling Signa Group, founded by property tycoon Rene Benko. A Baer spokesperson declined to comment on the matter when contacted by Reuters.

Analysts labelled the update as disappointing and expressed surprise at the higher credit provisions.

Vontobel analyst Andreas Venditti said the 10-month "statement is worse than expected" and estimates for the full year would have to be lowered.

Shares were down 1.8% in pre-market trading.

The bank said it recorded net new money inflows of 10.3 billion francs for the first 10 months of the year.

Analysts at Zuercher Kantonalbank had expected 15 billion francs, with Baer having already reported inflows of 7 billion francs for the first half of 2023.

Assets under management rose 3% to 435 billion francs during the period, driven mainly by inflows and the strength of the global equity market.

($1 = 0.8855 Swiss francs)

Reporting by Noele Illien Editing by Miranda Murray, Christopher Cushing and David Goodman

Source: Reuters

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