To our more than 156,500 shareholders
Sondrio, 1st July 2023
Dear Shareholder, Dear Friend,
In the first half of the current year, global economic activity gradually lost momentum.
China, had begun 2023 with industrial production levels falling considerably, yet, after removing Covid lockdown restrictions everywhere, began to show definite signs of rapid recovery only to slow down later to a more moderate growth rate.
The GDP in the USA remained positive, though with only modest results.
Turning to the Eurozone, lower energy costs had a favourable effect on the resilience of the economy, though these effects still remained somewhat disappointing. Domestic consumption contracted significantly, due mainly to a sense of insecurity prompted by the continuation of the Russian-Ukraine conflict. Inflation levels eased slightly also due to the several interest rate increases decreed by the ECB.
Among all the Eurozone countries, it can be said that Italy was among those countries that managed to face the crisis best; a reasonably good increase in the GDP for 2023 is expected despite a gradual slowing down of industrial production levels and export in the first half of the year. The construction industry felt the effects of the government’s changes to the so-called ‘110% superbonus’ scheme. The tourism sector, on the other hand, made a significant contribution to the economy and the forecasts for the summer season are even better. Consumption remained weak, again, feeling the effects of inflation.
The European Union, efficiently interpreting its role, acted swiftly utilizing innovative financial instruments as well as via the NGEU and PNRR programs and by making available important financial resources to bolster both the recovery phase as well as the dual eco-digital transition.
Let us turn now to our bank- your bank.
READ THE LETTER
On April 29th 2023, before proceeding with the AGM, an EGM was held to modify Article 24 of the Articles of Association. With immediate effect, a new rule was introduced regarding the five members of the Board nearing the end of their term of office whereby should various lists be presented, from the list of candidates receiving the highest number of votes (following the progressive order of presentation), all the candidates will become effective except the last. From the list that obtained the second highest number of votes, the first candidate named on the list will become effective.
The meeting proceeded subsequently with matters regarding the AGM which, with delegates for 5,600 members, almost 52% of the share capital, approved the Annual Report by a large majority as well as the dividend to be distributed, proposed at €0.28 per share.
Net profits in the 2022 financial year totalled 212.9 million euro, essentially in line with the 2021 figure of 212.1 million euro. What is worthy of note is the increase in income from banking activities such as interest margins and commission.
The Group total net profit totalled 251.3 million euro-this figure including the contributions made by the subsidiaries Banca Popolare di Sondrio (SUISSE), BNT Banca Spa and Factorit Spa all of whom produced positive balance sheets.
In the first quarter of 2023 satisfactory high net profit results were achieved, 94.4 million euro compared to the 40.3 million of March 31st 2022, up by 134.3%. ROE reached 11.1%, Cost-Income Ratio was 40.9%; NPL Gross Ratio stood at 4.3%; the Net NPL Ratio at 1.75% and CET 1 was 15.3%. These are results that place us in the highest classification in the banking system.
The figures for the last semester, though still being finalized, appear very much aligned with those of 31st March c.y. and are above the forecasts of the Industrial Plan.
We can affirm with some degree of satisfaction that the branches and offices of the ‘BPS’ have operated resolutely reaching their objectives of achieving the right profit levels alongside careful attention to our clients and their needs. The International Service has provided adequate support for customers involved in internationalization and has organized numerous training sessions and seminars. The Commercial Banking Division has operated with professionalism extending the range of ESG products and harmonizing the needs of our clients with environmental safeguards in accordance with the Industrial Plan. In collaboration with the Information Systems Service, it has pursued the stimulating technological and I.T. developments launching us into the future with the ‘Metaverse’-an innovative virtual tool, still in its experimental phase. Investment has continued to consolidate our clients’ multichannel user experience on the new SCRIGNO bps portal.
Our bank always strives to meet the needs of individuals, families and the diverse sectors of the business community, examining each case on its merit and offering support to those in difficulty with mortgage payments. This is what was done also in this financial year.
Ratings, performed by various agencies have now become of interest to all. They are of particular importance in investment decisions and, when positive, are well received by the recipient institution. Scope Ratings, raised the Issuer Rating of our Bank from Investment grade “BBB–“to BBB” with the outlook ‘stable’ . Fitch Ratings confirmed its previous assessment with Long Term Issuer Insolvency at “BB+” and “stable” outlook. Having concluded the examination process on sustainability evaluation referred to in the ESG-Environmental Social and Governance parametres, the London based agency Standard Ethics confirmed our corporate “EE” rating with a long term rating of “EE+ . These are assessments that spur us on to pursue our objectives with renewed vigour.
On the subject of recognition and awards, the daily ‘Milano Finanza’ held its 20th annual MF Banking Awards and awarded the BPS the MF Innovation Award 2023 in the section dedicated to new operational models for our creation of “Omìnà”, a digital technologically advanced virtual platform for the analysis and optimization of operations focusing primarily on our customer-user.
The Cultural arena is dominated by ‘Il Notiziario’ which, as always, has attracted the interest of its over one hundred thousand readers. Though its first edition dates back to 1973, our magazine remains young and stimulating in its content and elegant in its graphical appearance.
The cultural section in the 2022 Annual Report of the BPS (SUISSE) was reserved for a monograph on the Swiss citizen Henry Dunant, creator of the International Red Cross who history will remember as the first ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (1901).
In collaboration with the Sondrio Local Administration and other local figures, we have supported several cultural events in the Province among which Elisabetta Sgarbi’s ‘La Milanesiana’ which officially opened in Sondrio on June 1st at the Valtellina Art and History Museum (MVSA) and the Sondrio Theatre, ‘Teatro Sociale’. The event will move up the Valley from July 20th -27th with several other events such as artist/photographer Chiara Caselli’s exhibition ‘Interiors’ managed by Vittorio Sgarbi and held in the BPS’ branch N°1 in Bormio.
Dear Shareholder, Dear Friend,
The devastating flooding that occurred in May in Emilia Romagna cannot but force reflection on the relationship between Man, manufacturing activities and the environment, all in the context of climate change.
As a crucial active part of the financial system we are called upon to perform an important role in favour of sustainable development focusing our management in this direction and promoting social justice in the knowledge that the market will survive only if the environment survives. The environment itself can only survive if the market guarantees its vital existence.
Our distinctive entrepreneurial spirit which generates a sense of a working community and which goes hand in hand with a sense of territorial community spreads its roots in our business culture. This enables us to pursue a vigorous transformation of today; reflect critically on yesterday and design tomorrow with conviction and a sense of social responsibility.
Culture and knowledge, basic elements of thought and deed, give shape and substance to creative challenge and innovation finding in the younger generations those ideas which lead to change, the perfect humus needed to create well being and prosperity for our stakeholders.
Each one of us has a specific role to perform in order for the entire organism to remain healthy. The search together for solutions to common problems makes perfect sense of a shared responsibility.
The summer has just begun, the holiday season. Our wish is that you, your family and those dear to you return rested and refreshed.
With best regards.
Chief Executive Officer and General Manager
(Mario Alberto Pedranzini)