Record profit for Romania's biggest lender

The largest bank by assets in Romania, Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR), controlled by the Austrian financial group Erste, made a record 2.03 billion lei net profit last year after selling its stakes in insurer Asiban and lender Banca Italo-Romena, NewsIn informs.

Its net profit accelerated by 119.8 in 2008 over the previous year’s level of 924.8 million lei. Yet, without gains generated by the two sales, the net profit would have only been of 1.3 billion lei, tantamount to a 13 percent yearly advance.

The lender’s assets nudged up 9 percent to 69.08 billion lei from 63.36 billion lei in 2007. In euros assets slipped to 17.17 billion euros from 17.56 billion euros in 2007.

BCR’s operating profit accelerated 88.8 percent underpinned by a 1.4 percent cut of spending and helped by a 37 percent increase of operational revenues over 2007.

General administrative spending was reduced to 1.77 billion lei last year, from a previous 1.74 billion lei.

Moreover, net incomes from interests advanced 54.9 percent from 1.96 billion lei to 3 billion lei last year while net incomes from commissions added 6.7 percent from 857.5 million lei to 915.2 million lei.

BCR raised risk provisions for loans to 628.6 million lei from 164.4 million lei in 2007, considering the tough situation on the market under the effect of the economic downturn.

The lender’s social capital hiked an annual 30.6 percent to 6.36 billion lei at the end of last year.

Last year, the third largest insurer in France, Groupama, purchased stakes four Romanian lenders, including BCR, controlled in insurance company Asiban.

Also, at the end of March last year, Erste announced it reached an agreement with Austrian company Vienna Insurance Group which took over the insurance business of the lender.

The lender’s total assets advanced an annual 8.2 percent to 64.5 billion lei. However, their value shrank by 500 million euros, if calculated in euros, owing to the weaker national currency.

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