UPDATE 1-Sberbank sees 2013 profit at $13 billion

Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:07am EST

Related Topics

* 2012 profit to beat record 316 bln roubles in 2011

* Rules out acquisitions for next 3 years

* Warns of Eurozone break-up (Adds details, background)

By Edward Taylor and Arno Schuetze

FRANKFURT, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Sberbank, Russia's top lender, expects net profit this year to beat 2011's record level and earnings next year to be around 400 billion roubles ($13 billion), Chief Executive German Gref said on Thursday.

The lender, which accounts for one third of lending in Russia, posted a record 316 billion roubles in net profit in 2011 and has already earned 297 billion roubles in 10 months this year.

"We are targeting a net profit of approximately 400 billion roubles or $13 billion in 2013," Gref said on the sidelines of a banking conference in Frankfurt, adding that the bank's goal is return-on-equity of over 20 percent.

ROE was 23.8 percent at the end of the second quarter.

Gref did not specify net profit expected in 2012, saying only it would be higher than last year.

A former economy minister, Gref has started to transform Sberbank into a global player by snapping up foreign assets, such as the eastern European arm of Austria's Oesterreichische Volksbanken (OeVAG) VBI and Turkey's Denizbank .

Deputy chairman Sergey Gorkov told Reuters that its new international assets would make up 5 percent of group profit next year, adding: "This year, we will be very close to this number."

Gorkov also said the Russian bank will not carry out any takeovers for the next three years, focusing instead on growing its overseas assets organically by 60 percent.

"We had foreign assets of $1 billion, now we have $50 billion and we are expecting overseas assets to total $80 billion within the next three years," Gorkov said.

EUROZONE TROUBLES

Deputy chief executive Andrey Donskikh said earlier this month Sberbank expected retail lending to outperform corporate lending growth this year of below 20 percent.

Sberbank bases its decision to avoid more Western European acquisitions on its belief that Eastern European markets can deliver better growth and profitability.

"Margins in the financial industry are decreasing in most European markets while they are quite stable in Turkey," Gorkov said.

In the Russian banking sector, pretax ROE averages 20 percent, a reason for many of Sberbank's rivals to focus on the domestic market.

Gref said he expects a break-up of the euro zone because member states within the common currency have such different levels of competitiveness.

"In the long term it is impossible to save the euro zone with the same countries," Gref said. The European Union is however a good idea, he added. "When the break-up will happen depends on many reasons." ($1 = 31.1612 Russian roubles) (Additional reporting by Jonathan Gould; Writing by Edward Taylor and Katya Golubkova; Editing by David Cowell)

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