In view of a significant deterioration in credit quality, Erste Group predicts a 70% increase in net loan impairment charges. Net provisions are expected to total 995.6 million lei in 2009, 118% more than a year earlier.

The slightly higher net provisions should be more or less compensated for by further cost reductions, which resulted in a net profit of 660 million lei in third quarter 2009.

For the fourth quarter of 2009, Erste Group expects a net profit of 235 million lei, 25.2% below Q408 levels, and an annual profit of 895.3 million lei in 2009, down 20.7% from a year earlier, excluding gains from the disposal of Asiban.

BRD Groupe Societe Generale will make public its fourth-quarter figures on February 16, 2010.