Turk­ish hold­ing props up NBG’s Q1 earn­ings

Kathimerini English - - Business & Finance -

Na­tional Bank (NBG), the coun­try’s largest lender by as­sets, says its first-quar­ter net profit rose 39 per­cent on the year, boosted by the strong per­for­mance of Turk­ish sub­sidiary Fi­nans­bank.

An NBG state­ment says net profit reached 157 mil­lion eu­ros in Jan­uary-March 2011, com­pared with 114 mil­lion eu­ros in the first quar­ter of 2010. An­a­lysts were ex­pect­ing a fig­ure of around 116 mil­lion eu­ros.

Fi­nans­bank posted prof­its of 151 mil­lion eu­ros, com­pared with 2 mil­lion in cri­sis-af­flicted Greece and 6 mil­lion in South­east­ern Europe.

CEO Apos­to­los Tam­vakakis said that NBG in­creased its prof­its through dras­tic cuts in op­er­a­tional costs.

He said the bank had man­aged to weather the cri­sis in a “sat­is­fac­tory” way so far, but warned that sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges re­main ahead.

“NBG plans to take new ini­tia­tives to strengthen the Greek bank­ing sys­tem and tackle the eco­nomic cri­sis,” he said in a state­ment.

With the Greek econ­omy in its third straight year of re­ces­sion, it was tough for the coun­try’s banks to make money, lead­ing to a squeeze in de­posit spreads, weak loan vol­umes and higher pro­vi­sions.

Greek len­ders have be­come de­pen­dent on the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank for liq­uid­ity as ac­cess to in­ter­bank fund­ing re­mains mostly shut due to sov­er­eign debt con­cerns.

The group, also present in Ro­ma­nia, Bul­garia, Ser­bia and Cyprus, re­duced its fund­ing from the ECB by 3.2 bil­lion eu­ros in the first quar­ter.

More earn­ings fig­ures came from Marfin Pop­u­lar Bank yes­ter­day, which re­ported a 50.6 per­cent yearon-year drop in first-quar­ter net profit of 20.6 mil­lion eu­ros.

Present in Greece, the United King­dom, Aus­tralia, Ukraine and Rus­sia, the Cyprus-based lender said net in­ter­est in­come rose 3 per­cent year-on-year to 181.5 mil­lion eu­ros.

Non­per­form­ing loans in the Jan­uary-March pe­riod rose 50 ba­sis points to 8 per­cent, “a well-be­low-the-sec­tor-av­er­age in­crease,” the bank said in a state­ment.

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