Natixis ups dividend payout target in new three-year plan

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s fourth-biggest listed bank Natixis aims to grow revenue by five percent annually over the next three years and to return more than 60 percent of its earnings to investors, it said on Sunday ahead of an investor day.

Natixis – which had a minimum dividend payout ratio of 50 percent in its previous three-year plan – bets on insurance, asset management and payments in a search for higher returns and plans to focus its investment banking activities on industries including energy and natural resources, aviation, infrastructure and real estate.

Natixis said it would have up to four billion euros to pay out dividends over 2018-2020 and said that one billion euros of that amount could be spent on acquisitions, compared to 1.5 billion euros under the previous plan.

Natixis said it would actively participate in asset management industry consolidation trends in a disciplined manner, while the bank seeks to grow assets under management to 1 trillion euros from 813 billion it had at the end of September.

Over the past years, Natixis – which is majority-owned by retail banking group BPCE – has slashed its balance sheet and focused more on earning fees from stock and debt issuance than from risky trading.

Its parent BPCE has worked on boosting cross-selling with the investment bank, putting it in control of the group’s insurance and payment businesses.

Natixis shares are up 22 percent this year, outperforming French sector peers.

(Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva and Matthieu Protard; Editing by GV De Clercq)