Eurobank profitable in first half, says asset quality trends hold up

View of a Eurobank branch in central Athens on March 11, 2015. REUTERS / Yannis Behrakis / Files

ATHENS, Aug.31 (Reuters) – Eurobank (EURBr.AT), one of Greece’s four largest lenders, was profitable in the first half thanks to lower provisions for bad loans and higher income in commissions, after losses during the same period of a year earlier.

The bank, 2.4% owned by the country’s HFSF bank bailout fund, reported a net profit of 190 million euros ($ 225 million) from a loss of 1.16 billion euros in the first half of the year 2020.

Net income adjusted for restructuring costs and other exceptional items increased 10.7% to 195 million euros in the first half from 176 million in the same period a year earlier.

“Profitability is in line with our expectations, the NPE (non-performing exposures) ratio reached single digits, close to 8%, at the end of the year,” Managing Director Fokion Karavias said in a statement.

Eurobank’s net fee and commission income increased by 16% year-on-year to reach EUR 209 million, mainly due to costs related to network activities, rental income and loans, a- he indicated. This more than offset a 2.8% drop in net interest income.

Its net interest margin fell to 1.94% from 2.09% in the first half of the previous year. Provisions for credit losses fell 17.3% over one year to 224 million euros.

The bank CEO said deposits continued to rise in the banking system, real estate prices were rising and asset quality trends remained resilient.

The tourism sector, a key driver of the Greek economy, has performed impressively with revenues estimated at over 50% of that of 2019, which was a record year, he said.

Operations outside Greece were profitable with adjusted net income reaching 73 million euros in the first half.

Eurobank has agreed to merge its unit in Serbia with Direktna Bank and to acquire a 12.6% stake in Hellenic Bank (HBNK.CY) in Cyprus, two agreements forming part of its strategy to expand its international activities.

($ 1 = € 0.8458)

Reporting by George Georgiopoulos

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