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UBS Q4 Profit Surges, Declares Dividend; To Buy Back Up To $1.1 Bln Shares

Swiss banking giant UBS Group AG (UBS) Tuesday reported that its fourth-quarter net profit attributable to shareholders was $1.71 billion, up 137 percent from last year. Earnings per share were $0.46.

Profit before tax was $2.06 billion, up 122 percent from $928 million a year ago.

Operating income grew to $8.12 billion from last year's $7.05 billion.

Further, the company said it intends to propose a 2020 ordinary dividend of $0.37 per share. Subject to approval by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting scheduled for April 8, the dividend will be paid on April 15 to shareholders of record on April 14.

UBS also said it intends to repurchase up to $1.1 billion of shares in the first quarter.

In the first quarter of 2021, the company plans to repurchase the remaining 100 million Swiss francs of the existing three-year share repurchase program, while launching a new three-year program of up to 4 billion francs, of which up to $ 1 billion is to be executed in the first quarter of 2021.

UBS said that "investor sentiment improved in the fourth quarter of 2020, largely on the basis of the strong rebound in economic activity seen through the third quarter, combined with greater optimism regarding the availability and effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as continued fiscal and monetary stimulus that contributed to generally more positive views on the timing and extent of a sustainable economic recovery."

Looking ahead, the company expects revenues in the first quarter of 2021 to be positively influenced by seasonal factors such as higher client activity, compared with the fourth quarter of 2020.

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