Thai central bank allows banks to pay interim dividends

BANGKOK, June 11 (Reuters): Thailand's central bank has allowed banks to pay interim dividends as lenders are strong with sufficient capital to withstand the impact of COVID-19 outbreaks, the governor has announced.

Banks are allowed to pay interim dividends not exceeding last year's dividend payment rates and up to 50% of first-half net profits of 2021, Bank of Thailand Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput said on a statement.

The BOT will monitor the situation and banks' financial assistance for their borrowers before deciding lenders' annual dividend payments for 2021, the statement said.

It will also consider whether to allow banks to continue to pay a lowered 0.23% of deposits per annum to the Financial Institutions Development Fund (FIDF) after the end of this year.

However, banks are not allowed to buy back their shares as well as capital instruments before maturity dates, unless they have plans to replace them, it said.

The central bank has also allowed certain smaller firms to delay debt repayments for another six months from June to help them cope with the impact of the country's third and biggest wave of coronavius infections so far.

The BOT said it was ready to implement additional measures as necessary.

Thailand's central bank also announced on Friday (June 11) that it did not expect non-performing loans to increase sharply due to debt relief measures to help debtors cope with the impact of coronavirus outbreaks.

Given the country's vaccine rollout and reopening plans, a quick recovery in economic activity will also help prevent bad loans from surging, Deputy governor Ronadol Numnonda told a briefing. - Reuters
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