MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's biggest retail bank Intesa Sanpaolo met its widely trumpeted dividend pledge as it reported a higher 2018 net profit despite a weak end to the year.
Intesa said revenues stagnated in 2018 and net profit stood at 4.05 billion euro (3.55 billion pounds) in the full year compared with 3.8 billion euros in 2017, when excluding a 3.5 billion euro cash payment from the state to take over two failing regional banks.
Intesa booked a 400 million euro capital gain in 2018 on its partnership with Intrum to sell a majority stake in its loan recovery business to the Swedish debt collector together with 10.8 billion euros in bad loans.
Operating profit fell 17 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months but core capital held broadly stable at 13.5 percent
(Reporting by Valentina Za, ediitng by Silvia Aloisi)