Handelsbanken Q1 profit rises 13 pct, topping forecasts

STOCKHOLM, April 30 Wed Apr 30, 2014 12:45am EDT

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STOCKHOLM, April 30 (Reuters) - Sweden's Handelsbanken posted a bigger than expected rise in first-quarter operating profit on Wednesday and said it was well prepared for potentially tougher regulation of bank mortgage portfolios in Sweden.

Operating profits in the quarter rose to 4.92 billion Swedish crowns ($750 million), beating a mean forecast for 4.79 billion seen in a Reuters poll of analysts and compared with 4.34 billion in the year-earlier period.

It said a proposal by Sweden's financial watchdog to raise the amount of capital needed to be put aside for possible losses in bank mortgage portfolios to 25 percent from a current 15 percent would increase its capital requirement a further 9.2 billion crowns.

"The bank's assessment is that the group will continue to be well capitalised after a possible implementation," the bank said in a statement. (Reporting by Mia Shanley)

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