BILBAO, Spain, March 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- BBVA shareholders today received a message charged with ambition and optimism from the Group's chairman Francisco Gonzalez. He explained that "BBVA is at the start of a new cycle of conspicuously strong growth of business and earnings." Speaking at the Annual General Meeting he said, "We are emerging from the crisis in pole position to lead the next phase of global growth." At this morning's AGM in Bilbao's Euskalduna Palace, Francisco Gonzalez centered his address on three aspects: the economic and financial environment, BBVA's earnings in 2012 and the Group's future plans. In his opinion, "2012 was another difficult year." Nonetheless he believes that "very important steps have been taken to achieve global recovery." As examples, Francisco Gonzalez pointed to the improved outlook for a fiscal agreement in the United States, the roadmap to enhance European integration and the progress made on adjustments and reforms in Spain. "This crisis could be a great opportunity to build a new European Union and a Spanish economy on more solid and competitive foundations," he added. Although 2013 will still be "a difficult year," he said "it can be the turning point in the search for a period of greater stability and growth." Francisco Gonzalez then turned to unfortunate practices in the banking industry and the need to differentiate among banks. He said, "We have a great opportunity to build a new financial system on stronger foundations, one based on firm ethical principles. BBVA gives absolute priority to good practices, to principles. We seek principle-adjusted returns and we do this because we believe the fundamental asset of banking business is the trust of customers, shareholders, employees, regulators and society." Furthermore he reminded the audience that "throughout the crisis BBVA has not cost taxpayers a dime. These factors are a huge asset in our daily business and for our future." In the second part of his address Francisco Gonzalez reviewed the key figures of the income statement for last year, during which BBVA obtained a net attributable profit of €1.68 billion. He said, "BBVA confirmed its ability to outperform with sound earnings of high quality in a difficult year." Moreover he believes the achievements of 2012 can be summarized as follows:
Generation of strong revenues to absorb with ease the heavy provisioning in 2012
Maintaining risk under control and increasing coverage
Strengthening of the Group's position in terms of liquidity and capital
As a result, "BBVA leads the ranking among its European peers in terms of absolute income growth and profitability measured by gross income over total assets," he added.