CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Erste Group 2013 net profit slumps after Q4 loss

Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:53am EST

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(Corrects percentage change in first paragraph from three quarters to nearly 90 percent)

* Data suggest Q4 loss of around 370 mln euros

* Erste cites goodwill writedowns, tax effects

* Still plans to pay dividend

* Shares fall 0.9 pct, lag sector

VIENNA, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Austrian lender Erste Group's net profit slumped by nearly 90 percent to around 60 million euros ($81.9 million) in 2013 as goodwill writedowns and tax effects hit the bottom line, it said on Tuesday.

Based on the 430.3 million euros it made in the first nine months, that suggested a preliminary loss of around 370 million euros in the fourth quarter alone. Its results were due only on Feb. 28.

Central and eastern Europe's third-biggest lender had generated 2012 net profit of 483.5 million euros.

Its shares fell 1.6 percent to 27.74 euros by 1601 GMT, while the Stoxx European bank sector index rose 1.1 percent.

Erste had in December announced a goodwill writedown of around 350 million euros, primarily for its Romanian unit.

"While the operating result, risk costs and the performance of the Romanian subsidiary BCR was in line with management guidance, goodwill write-downs and tax effects negatively impacted net profit," it said.

Erste said it had only partly recognised deferred tax assets for tax losses carried forward as they were unlikely to be realised within a reasonable time frame.

"This is directly related to the persistently high banking tax burden on the Austrian tax group as well as goodwill write-downs over the past years," it said. "In a fully loaded Basel 3 capital scenario, this measure is capital neutral."

It said its non-performing loan ratio held stable quarter-on-quarter in 2013, while the NPL coverage ratio rose year-on-year. Its fully loaded Basel 3 common equity tier 1 ratio also rose amid higher common equity tier 1 capital and lower risk-weighted assets. It was not more specific.

"Erste Group intends to pay a dividend on common stock in 2013," it added, but said its payout proposal would be announced only on Feb. 28. ($1 = 0.7327 euros) (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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