Ssberbank Profit Rises 9% in January on Consumer Lending

OAO Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender, said net income advanced 9 percent in January compared with a year earlier as the company made more loans to consumers.

Profit under Russian accounting standards rose to 31.8 billion rubles ($1.06 billion) from 29.2 billion rubles a year earlier, according to a statement today on the Moscow-based lender’s website. Net interest income, the difference between what a bank earns from lending and what it pays on deposits, gained an annual 19 percent to 57.8 billion rubles.

Sberbank, which controls about 45 percent of Russia’s deposits, has become Europe’s fourth-largest bank by market value as local lenders and the country’s economy weather the debt crisis better than peers in western Europe.

“Sberbank remains the bank to own in Russia,” Luis Saenz, head of equity sales and trading at BCS Financial Group in London, wrote in e-mailed comments. “January is usually a quiet month which explains just 0.5 percent monthly increase in retail deposits and the 1.1 percent decline in corporate loans.”

Corporate lending fell to 7.38 billion rubles last month from 7.46 billion rubles. Consumer loans advanced to 2.54 billion rubles from 2.53 billion rubles. Sberbank’s capital adequacy ratio rose to 12.9 percent at the end of January from 12.6 percent in December.

Non-performing loans climbed to 2.74 percent of the bank’s total lending in January from 2.69 percent the previous month. Sberbank’s operating costs jumped 30 percent due to “increased labor costs.”

Sberbank said on Jan. 15 that profit for 2012 increased 11 percent to 344 billion rubles.

Its shares fell 0.7 percent to 106.17 rubles at 1:17 p.m. in Moscow, paring this year’s gains to 14 percent.

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