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NLB bank's net profit tripled to EUR 189m last year

Ljubljana, 16 April (STA) - NLB, Slovenia's biggest bank, tripled its net profit to EUR 189.1m last year, shows the annual report circulated by the bank on Monday. According to the NLB management, the results show that the bank is "well prepared for the expected privatisation".

Meanwhile, the supervisory board of the bank, which discussed the results on Friday, reported after the meeting that the group's profit after taxes doubled to EUR 225.1m in 2017 over 2016.

The bank as well as all strategic banking members of the group made profit and contributed to the record result, supervisors said.

Today, the bank said that the group improved its result for the fourth consecutive year, with the non-core members of the group also making a positive contribution to the group's result for the first time.

The operating result before provisions, excluding one-off events, increased by 11% compared to 2016. According to the bank, this "shows a continuous trend of high quality operations in all segments". Including one-off effects, the return on equity (ROE) after tax increased to 14.4%.

Loans to retail customers in Slovenia increased by 7% year-on-year, while loans on foreign strategic markets increased 8% compared to 2016. Corporate loans in Slovenia were "largely stable with sub-segments showing good performance", the bank said, pointing to 10% growth in loans to SMEs.

The quality of the loan portfolio improved, with the volume of non-performing loans decreasing by 36% last year. The share of toxic loans was cut to 9.2% and non-performing exposure ratio to 6.7%.

The total capital ratio and core equity Tier 1 ratio were at 15.9%, which is above the regulatory requirement, the bank also said.

Meanwhile, it said that the bank was involved in legal disputes totalling EUR 585.4m, excluding interest, in claims. Most of these claims stem from Yugoslav-era foreign-currency deposits in the now-defunct LB bank.

The bank has not formed provisions for these claims, because it believes there are no legal grounds for them. Nevertheless, the European Central Bank has tasked NLB with limiting the distribution of profit in the event that criteria for forming provisions are fulfilled.

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