Komercni 2012 Profit Rises to Record as Writedowns Not Repeated

Komercni Banka AS’s profit rose more than expected to a record last year as the Czech unit of Societe Generale SA cut its total write-offs.

Net income attributable to shareholders jumped 47 percent from 2011 to 13.95 billion koruna ($740 million), the Prague- based bank said in a statement today, beating the 13.75 billion- koruna median estimate of 15 analysts in a Bloomberg survey. It proposed a dividend payout of 230 koruna per share.

While the Czech economy contracted in 2012, Komercni increased lending by 4.1 percent to 469.1 billion koruna and slashed the amount of reserves and provisioning by 75 percent to 1.9 billion koruna. In 2011, profit shrank 29 percent to a five- year low as the bank wrote off 5.36 billion koruna from a 7 billion-koruna portfolio of Greek government bonds.

“The lower risk costs were therefore the main driver for the 47 percent gain in the group’s net profit,” Komercni Banka said in the statement.

Fourth-quarter net attributable profit increased 25 percent from a year earlier to 3 billion koruna, the company said.

While economic conditions “will probably remain difficult this year and market interest rates will stay very low, we must focus on disciplined cost management,” Chief Executive Officer Henri Bonnet said in the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Krystof Chamonikolas in Prague at kchamonikola@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Wojciech Moskwa at wmoskwa@bloomberg.net

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