Romanian Banca Transilvania's 2013 Profit Up 17% on Loans

Banca Transilvania SA, Romania’s second-biggest publicly-traded bank, said its 2013 profit rose 17 percent from a year earlier on lending growth.

Net income increased to 375 million lei ($114 million) last year from 320 million lei in 2012, the Cluj-Napoca, Romania-based bank said in a regulatory statement today. Pretax profit rose 30 percent to 443 million lei after operating revenue advanced 12 percent on higher interest income.

Banca Transilvania, one of top 10 largest banks in Romania by assets, is boosting lending as the country’s banking industry is struggling to eliminate bad debt off its balance sheet. The sector as a whole is expected to have returned to profit last year, after incurring losses for three consecutive years, a central bank official said.

“We reached all our targets,” Chairman Horia Ciorcila said in the statement. “Last year was a very good year for Banca Transilvania, all the more so because the September - December period was one of the best lending quarters the bank has had in the past few years.”

Banca Transilvania’s net assets grew about 8 percent last year to 32 billion lei from 29.6 billion lei at the end of 2012, the lender said. It granted more than 25,000 new loans in the fourth quarter alone, amounting to 3.2 billion lei, according to the statement.

Non-performing loans, which stood at 21.9 percent of all loans in the Romanian banking sector in December, amounted to 12.6 percent of Banca Transilvania’s total loan portfolio at the end of 2013, the bank said. Net provisions totaled 407 million lei in 2013 compared with 375 million lei a year ago.

‘Positive Impact’

Banca Transilvania’s shares gained 0.6 percent to 1.65 leu per share by 11:28 a.m. in Bucharest today. At that price, the bank is valued at 3.64 billion lei.

“We expect a slightly positive impact on the bank’s share price” today “given the improvement in its bottom line compared with a year-ago period, but also because of better results posted by the bank when compared with budgeted levels of profit and business volumes,” Carmen Lipara, BRD-Groupe Societe Generale SA analyst, said in a report today.

BRD has a “sell” recommendation on Banca Transilvania’s shares and maintains its 12-month target price of 1.5342 leu per share, according to Lipara.

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