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PKO 2011 Profit Rises to Record, Helped by Higher Lending

March 5 (Bloomberg) -- PKO Bank Polski SA, Poland’s largest bank, said 2011 profit rose to a record, fueled by higher lending as the country’s growth rate increased.

Net income at the Warsaw-based company advanced 18 percent to 3.81 billion zloty ($1.22 billion) from 3.22 billion zloty a year earlier, it said today in a regulatory statement. That’s in line with the 3.82 billion-zloty mean estimate of 20 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Net interest income, the difference between what the bank pays on deposits and what it charges for loans, increased 17 percent to 7.61 billion zloty last year. Net fees and commissions fell 1.3 percent to 3.1 million zloty. Lending increased 9 percent to 147.3 billion zloty driven by mortgage loans. Polish economic growth was 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

The bank, which plans to recommend a 2011 dividend payout in early May, may change its policy of paying out about 40 percent of profit to a range that would give it “more flexibility,” Chief Executive Officer Zbigniew Jagiello told reporters today, without giving any details. Puls Biznesu newspaper reported today PKO may pay out from 20 percent to 60 percent of future earnings to shareholders.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marta Waldoch in Warsaw at mwaldoch@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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