Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Seeking Alpha: ING Feeling An Uncomfortable Squeeze

About nine months ago, I wrote the following in reference to Netherlands-based bank ING (NYSE:ING), "... the potential here appears to be among the best in Europe right now."

I was wrong.

While others certainly have done worse (including Unicredit (OTCPK:UNCFF), Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB), and Santander (NYSE:SAN)), and European banks have performed poorly in general, ING's nearly 25% decline in local terms since that article is quite weak and notably worse than the performance of French banks like BNP Paribas (OTCQX:BNPQY) and Societe Generale (OTCPK:SCGLY) and Austria's Erste (OTCPK:EBKDY), not to mention fellow Dutch (but state-owned) bank ABN AMRO.

ING has taken hits on multiple fronts. Loan growth and spreads in its core Benelux markets haven't been great, and the prospect for rate increases (and higher lending margins) has faded across the banking sector. Investors have also grown more concerned with ING's energy loan book, while more stringent capital ratio rules are going to reduce prospective capital returns (as well as returns on capital).

The conditions in which ING operates are certainly less than ideal, but I do not believe that the book should trade for less than tangible book value. My base case estimates value of the bank at around $15/ADR on long-term earnings growth in the 5% to 6% range (a long-term ROE of 10% to 11%), but if lower-for-long rates, higher loan losses, and weaker returns on capital drive ROEs persistently below 10% for the future, today's price is pretty close to the mark on value.

Read the full article here:
ING Feeling An Uncomfortable Squeeze

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