Al­pha Bank swings a first-quar­ter profit

Kathimerini English - - Business & Finance -

Al­pha Bank, the coun­try’s third­largest lender, re­ported a 10.5-mil­lion-euro net profit for the first quar­ter of 2011, ver­sus a 10.4-mil­lion-euro loss in the same pe­riod last year, as cost-cut­ting helped shield it from de­te­ri­o­rat­ing eco­nomic con­di­tions.

The fig­ure beat an­a­lysts’ ex­pec­ta­tions, which had been for earn­ings of around 5 mil­lion eu­ros.

Kick­ing off the first-quar­ter re­port­ing sea­son for Greek blue chip len­ders, Al­pha Bank said that it fo­cused on bal­ance sheet delever­ag­ing, strength­en­ing cap­i­tal ra­tios, re­duc­ing ex­po­sure to the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank and build­ing loan­loss pro­vi­sions.

“We re­main com­mit­ted to im­prov­ing our op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency as the re­align­ment of our cost base con­tin­ues to un­der­mine our per­for­mance,” Al­pha Bank CEO Demetrios Mant­zou­nis said in a state­ment yes­ter­day.

Net in­ter­est in­come fell 5.8 per­cent year-on-year to 429.4 mil­lion eu­ros, hit by the con­tin­u­ous strain on Greek de­posits, it said.

With the eco­nomic re­ces­sion in its third year, Al­pha Bank said first-quar­ter loan im­pair­ment charges in Greece rose nearly 30 per­cent year-on-year to 200.1 mil­lion eu­ros.

Non­per­form­ing loans in Greece rose 90 ba­sis points from the same pe­riod a year ear­lier to 9.6 per­cent, ver­sus 8.4 per­cent in South­east­ern Europe.

Al­pha Bank is also present in Cyprus, Ro­ma­nia, Bul­garia, Ser­bia, Al­ba­nia, the for­mer Yu­goslav Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia (FY­ROM) and Ukraine.

Shares in the lender, which has a mar­ket value of some 1.7 bil­lion eu­ros, dipped 1.80 per­cent yes­ter­day to 3.27 eu­ros ver­sus a dip of 0.13 per­cent in the broader mar­ket.

STE­LIOS BOURAS

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