Cantillon: KBC back in two fetching shades of black

Bank is back in profit in Ireland after a number of years of losses

The eagle-eyed among you might have wondered why KBC Bank Ireland reported a profit after tax and impairment costs of €25 million for the third quarter in a local press release – when a detailed group presentation by its Belgian parent put its net profit here for the period at a more modest €10 million.

The Irish subsidiary is a net borrower from the parent company, being in receipt of about €4 billion, which is charged at market rates.

At group level, KBC deducts the cost of funds when calculating the net profit of its Dublin-based unit for reporting purposes.

By contrast, KBC Bank Ireland is not required to deduct this funding charge in terms of producing its statutory accounts here.


Hence the higher profit figure. It’s a technical or accounting quirk.

Either way, KBC is back in the black in Ireland after a number of years of losses post the crash, and on target to produce a full year profit in 2016 . . . at group level.

For the record, the cost of funds for KBC Bank Ireland was €16.7 million in the third quarter.

Year to date, it was €55.4 million. There really is no such thing as a free lunch.