Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Romanian BRD to issue 600 mln euros debt in 2009-10

* To issue 600 mln euros debt

* To pay gross dividend of 0.72828 lei

(Adds analyst quote, background)

BUCHAREST, April 29 (Reuters) - Romania's second-largest bank, BRD (BRDX.BX), controlled by France's Societe Generale (SOGN.PA), plans to issue debt worth of 600 million euro ($792 million) this year and next, BRD said on Wednesday.

BRD also said it approved paying a gross dividend of 0.72828 lei ($0.228) for 2008, up 23 percent from a year before, a figure largely expected by the market.

"(We) approved ... to issue bonds during the 2009-2010 period of up to 600 million euros worth of lei or another currency," BRD said in a statement after the general shareholders' meeting.

Analysts said bond issuance plans were a sign the parent bank had switched off its tap with cash for the moment.

"It is a signal Societe Generale does not give BRD as much cash as it needs," said Ovidiu Fer, an analyst with Wood & Company in Prague.

"But this will not be perceived as negative by the markets as we are not talking about a high level of debt, which the bank can't afford."

BRD has posted a 46 percent rise in 2008 net profit to more than 1.35 billion lei, benefiting from large fee and interest income for most of last year, when Romania's economy was booming.

Despite a sharp reversal of fortune triggered by the global financial crisis, in which Romania is expected to face recession this year, BRD has said it still expects to record a profit in 2009.

BRD's shares were suspended from trading due to the general shareholders' meeting. (Reporting by Marius Zaharia; Editing by Dan Lalor and Andrew Macdonald) ($1 = 0.7579 euro) ($1 = 3.190 lei)

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