Thursday, October 29, 2009

Banca Transilvania 9-mo net profit at 48 mln lei

* Banca Transilvania 9-mo net plunges 87.8 pct

* Slightly above market expectations

BUCHAREST, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Romania's Banca Transilvania BATR.BX posted an 87.8 percent plunge in nine-month net profit on Wednesday, hit by bad debt provisions, but slightly above market expectations.

The bank said its net profit stood at 48.3 million lei ($16.7 million), compared with an average forecast of 24 million in a Reuters poll earlier this week. [ID:nLR155557]

Gross operating profit before provisions was 418 million lei, 83 percent higher than in the same period of last year.

The bank slashed its cost-to-income ratio to 55 percent from 70 percent last year. Results include a one-off profit of 13.8 million lei from the sale of its stake in BT Aegon to Aegon NV (AEGN.AS).

"Results are in line (with expectations), revenues are slightly better ... and one-offs are also slightly higher," said Adriana Marin of UniCredit CAIB Securities in Bucharest.

Eastern European banks have been hit by a painful recession that has almost frozen lending and increased bad debt provisions. Analysts expect Romanian banks to continue to struggle with risk costs in the fourth quarter as well.

"Next quarter doesn't seem to be easier for the business environment than this one (the third)," the bank's CEO Robert Rekkers said in a statement. (Reporting by Marius Zaharia; Editing by David Holmes) ($1=2.895 Lei)

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