On 27 January 2022, the Board of Directors of UniCredit S.p.A. ("UniCredit" or "the Group") approved the 4Q21 and FY21 Consolidated Results as at 31 December 2021.
The Bank delivered a strong set of 2021 results, achieving or exceeding all 2021 key financial guidance, with a 7.3 per cent RoTE and a EPS of €1.58.
FY21 underlying net profit reached €3.9 billion, up 2.6 billion full year on full year, exceeding the above €3.7 billion guidance, with an underlying FY21 RoTE of 7.5 per cent. The excellent commercial performance, reflecting the strengths of our unique pan-European franchise, led to total revenues of €4.4 billion in 4Q21, up 4.7 per cent year on year, and €18.0 billion of revenues in FY21, up 4.8 per cent full year on full year, above the €17.5 billion FY21 guidance. This was mainly due to strong fees, up 1.8 per cent quarter on quarter and up 11.7 per cent year on year at €1.7 billion in 4Q21, while FY21 fees were at €6.7 billion, up 12.1 per cent full year on full year. In 4Q21, net interest income (NII) was up 6.0 per cent quarter on quarter to €2.4 billion, benefitting from a positive non-recurring tax item in Germany and a recovery in loan demand. In FY21, NII down 4.0 per cent full year on full year at €9.1 billion as a result of lower loans volumes and customer rates.
Quarter on quarter and year on year total costs were almost flat at €2.5 billion in 4Q21, with a positive operating leverage of c. 5 p.p. . Thanks to continued cost discipline, 2021 total costs were also flat versus the prior year at €9.8 billion, more than offsetting the impact of investing in the business, cost inflation and a normalization in variable compensation. Cost/income ratio was 55.7 per cent in 4Q21, up 0.5 p.p. quarter on quarter and down 2.3 p.p. year on year, and 54.6 per cent in FY21, down 2.6 p.p. full year on full year.
Stated cost of risk (CoR) stood at 37 basis points in FY21, down 68 bps full year on full year, with all divisions recording a decreasing trend.
Our asset quality  remains sound, with Group gross NPE ratio at 3.6 per cent. The stated CET1 ratio ended the quarter at 15.03 per cent and the pro-forma CET1 ratio at 14.13 per cent , when deducting c. €2.58 billion share buyback component, above the 13.5-14 per cent FY21 guidance. Tangible equity was €52.8 billion, up 4.4 per cent year on year, while tangible book value per share was €23.9, up 5.7 per cent year on year, mainly thanks to net profit.
Our proposal for an ordinary distribution of €3.75 billion, with a cash dividend of around €1.17 billion and share buyback of around €2.58 billion, will be submitted to the AGM on the 8th of April. The cash dividend is subject to AGM approval, while the buyback is subject to supervisory and AGM approvals. We intend to commence the buyback as soon as possible after approvals.
We are embedding sustainability in all that we do - leading by example in our own business, helping our clients through a fair and positive transition, and contributing towards a better more sustainable society. As part of this, during 2021, we signed up to the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, publicly declaring our commitment to a more sustainable future and we recently enhanced our polices across Coal and Oil & Gas, reinforcing the principles that shape how we operate. The Group continues to progress on its net zero commitments and embed ESG in all areas of the business while strengthening corporate culture under the common purpose to empower our communities to progress.
Key recent events include the following:
- Executed €445 million of the €652 million "Second Share Buy-Back Programme 2021" related to FY20
- €1.75 billion UniCredit SpA Senior Preferred dual tranche successful issuance
- Fitch upgraded UniCredit SpA's ratings to 'BBB' with stable outlook from 'BBB-'
- S&P improved UniCredit SpA's outlook to positive from stable