- BGEO reported record profits of GEL463.449m in 2017, up 8.1% year-on-year amid strong performance from its banking and investment businesses, supported by Georgia's strong macroeconomic performance and business outlook.

Group revenue in 2017 increased by 23.7% year-on-year to GEL1.1bn, while book value per share at the end of 2017 was GEL65.22, up 15.2% year-on-year.

Total assets increased to GEL15,168.7m, up 17.1% year-on-year.

BGEO Group PLC is amid demerger, which would see its banking business, Bank of Georgia Group PLC, and an investment business, Georgia Capital PLC separate into two London-listed businesses. The demerger is expected to complete before the end of June 2018.

Chief executive Irakli Gilauri said: 'In its final year before the forthcoming demerger, supported by the continued macroeconomic performance of Georgia, BGEO Group has delivered another year of strong earnings momentum.'

'Obviously, Georgian GDP growth of c.3% was instrumental in keeping asset quality in check and delivering strong growth and record profitability. Georgian macroeconomic growth of c.3% was particularly resilient in the context of the economic turbulence in the region. Our base case scenario for GDP growth in 2016 is c.3% with inflation of up to 5%.'

'The Group Board expects to recommend a regular annual dividend for 2017 totaling c.GEL 120 million. This is in the range of our regular dividend payout ratio target of 25-40% paid from the Banking Business profits. Since 2010, the Group has grown its annual dividend per share by 40% CAGR on a GEL basis, and by 32% CAGR on a US Dollar basis.'

If the expected demerger is successfully implemented as planned, it is intended that Bank of Georgia PLC, will instead, shortly after the demerger is completed, declare and pay a dividend in a similar aggregate amount to shareholders then on the record.'

'In the event that the demerger is for any reason not completed it is intended, subject to shareholder approval, that the Board would implement the payment of this dividend, which would represent a payment of GEL 3.1 per share, payable in British Pounds Sterling at the prevailing rate, a 19.2% increase over the 2016 dividend.'

At 8:35am: [LON:BGEO] BGEO Group share price was +14p at 3414p

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