Volksbank Romania says cuts NPLs by 490 mln euros

BUCHAREST, March 18 Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:36am EDT

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BUCHAREST, March 18 (Reuters) - Volksbank Romania will offload non-performing loans with a total nominal value of 490 million euros ($682.42 million), the bank's President Benoit Catel said in an email to Reuters, selling at an undisclosed discount.

"This transaction further de-risks the business, and results in a cumulative 93 percent reduction of our real estate non-performing loan portfolio," Catel said.

"We continue in parallel to focus on growing the profitable core of our business. Currently, we are in advanced negotiations with a group of investors. Their name will be communicated after signing, although closing may take few months."

He said that following the transaction, Volksbank's NPL ratio will drop to 7.3 percent, "three times below the average level for the banking system." ($1 = 0.7180 euros) (Reporting by Radu Marinas; editing by Matthias Williams)

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