Nordea speeds up cost savings plan as Q4 profits miss forecast

STOCKHOLM Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:16am EST

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STOCKHOLM Jan 29 (Reuters) - Nordea NDA.ST, the Nordic region's biggest bank by market value, said on Wednesday it plans to accelerate its cost savings programme as its fourth-quarter operating profit landed below expectations.

The bank also said it aimed to raise its dividend payout ratio this year and next.

Operating profit for the period was 1.01 billion euros ($1.38 billion) compared with a mean forecast for 1.10 billion seen in a Reuters poll of analysts and a year-ago 1.03 billion.

"Since we foresee in the coming years a lower loan demand, lower customer activity and lower interest rates than previously expected, we will increase our focus on cost efficiency," CEO Christian Clausen said in a statement.

The bank now aims to create 900 million euros in cost savings from 2013 to 2015, up from a previous 450 million euros. ($1 = 0.7319 euros) (Reporting by Mia Shanley and Johan Ahlander)

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