UPDATE 1-COMMERZBANK sees H1 operating profit around 1 bln euros
* Bank sells Bank Forum to Ukrainian Smart Group
* Deal leads to 2nd quarter charge of 86 mln euros pre tax
* Pre-tax profit will be affected by around 286 mln euros
* Bank sees 1 billion euro operating profit in 1st half
* Sees 2nd quarter pre tax profit of about 350 mln euros (Adds background, details Of the sale)
FRANKFURT, July 30 (Reuters) - Germany's second biggest lender, Commerzbank AG, is selling its Ukrainian unit, Bank Forum, as it pulls out of Eastern Europe after expansion plans in the region failed to live up to expectations.
Commerzbank announced on Monday that it reached an agreement with Ukrainian investor Smart Group on the sale of its 96 percent stake in Bank Forum for an undisclosed amount, resulting in a pre tax charge of 286 million euros ($350.13 million) until the deal is closed.
Out of this total charge, a writedown of 86 million euros will be booked in the second quarter. The remainder is a currency effect that will be booked on closing. No dates were given.
Ukraine has proved a difficult market and Bank Forum has repeatedly racked up losses and has undergone restructuring.
After already leaving other Eastern European operations, Commerzbank said Bank Forum no longer fits into its strategy.
Commerzbank also disclosed late on Monday that it posted a second-quarter operating profit of 450 million euros and pre tax profit of 350 million euros, clearly missing market expectations. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S expected an operating profit of 602 million euros and a pre tax profit 527 million.
Commerzbank said that, due to reduction of risk-weighted assets related to Bank Forum's sale, its core Tier 1 ratio rose to 12 percent at the end of June from 11.3 percent in March. Commerzbank also expected to post a Tier 1 ratio of at least 10 percent based on the tighter capital regulations of the Basel 3 regime, which is applicable from next year.
Commerzbank is scheduled to publish its first-half results on Aug. 9. ($1 = 0.8168 euros) (Reporting By Arno Schuetze; editing by Marilyn Gerlach and Andre Grenon)
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