Excluding Russia, FY22 operational costs were reduced by 2.6 per cent year on year, confirming the Group's strong cost discipline in structurally reducing the cost base while protecting revenue growth, despite significant inflationary pressures which were almost 9 per cent in UniCredit's footprint.
The Group continues to drive best-in-class capital efficiency, with 117 basis points of organic capital generation excluding Russia in 4Q22 and 271 basis points for the FY22, well ahead of the plan, and leading to a stated CET1 ratio of 16.00 per cent which already deducts regulatory headwinds, the FY22 dividend accrual and the impact of Russia.
Our excellent results and focus on sustainable and attractive returns are validated by a 2022 shareholder distribution of €5.25 billion, a €1.5 billion increase compared to the previous year, composed of a proposed1 cash dividend of €1.91 billion and share buyback of €3.34 billion, subject to supervisory and shareholder approvals. We aim to execute the share buyback in two tranches, the first one of circa €2.34 billion to commence as soon as possible post the AGM approval on 31 March 2023, while the second tranche of circa €1.0 billion is expected to commence during the second half of 2023, shortly after the completion of the first tranche.
The FY22 diluted EPS growth year on year of 58.1 per cent, or 75.6 per cent excluding Russia, reflects superior shareholder value creation which was bolstered by absolute growth and enhanced by 2021 share buybacks. The proposed €1.91 billion of cash dividends, up 63 per cent and reflecting a 35 per cent cash dividend payout ratio on the Net Profit for the Group excluding Russia, enables a proposed DPS equal to 98.72 euro cents1,6 equalling a year on year increase of 84 per cent, evidence of UniCredit's capability to deliver compelling shareholder value.
The combination of the three levers of net revenues, costs and capital efficiency is already yielding good results. This is further evidenced by the FY22 RoTE, excluding Russia, of 11.7 per cent.
The existing lines of defense have been further proactively strengthened by building high provisioning levels, reinforcement of current overlays on performing exposures at €1.8 billion, and a rigorous risk approach reflected in the robust credit book, strengthening the Group's capacity to withstand macroeconomic shocks.
Cost of Risk ("CoR"), excluding Russia, stood at 56 basis points in 4Q22, and 23 basis points for the full year 2022, better than 2022 guidance.
Key recent events include the following:
- 2021 second share buyback tranche of €1.0 billion completed on the 30 November 2022 with all shares cancelled on the 14 December 2022. UniCredit purchased 87 million shares equal to 4.3 per cent of share capital.
- Signed commercial partnership with Azimut for the distribution of asset management products in Italy.
- Successful issuance of €1.0 billion UniCredit SpA Senior Preferred.
Dividend per share (DPS) calculated as of 30 January 2023 based on the best estimate of the expected number of shares eligible for dividend payment. The final DPS will be communicated according to the ordinary procedure. The 2023 AGM is expected to be held on the 31st of March 2023. As a result, the expected dividend dates are: record date 24 April 2023, ex-dividend date 25 April 2023, payment date 26 April 2023.