Permanent tsb says still expects group profit by 2017

DUBLIN Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:14am EDT

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DUBLIN Aug 19 (Reuters) - Ireland's permanent tsb is sticking to its forecast to return to profitability across its businesses by 2017, the bank's chief executive said on Tuesday.

The state-owned mortgage lender cut its first-half underlying loss by 62 percent year-on-year to 171 million euros ($228 million) after impairment charges on loans fell by two-thirds.

"I don't like to get ahead of myself. Today is a major step in the right direction but we're still loss-making and heavily loss-making," Chief Executive Jeremy Masding told a news conference.

"I think I'll still stick to 2017 and if we over-deliver, I'm sure the minister and the taxpayer will be delighted." (1 US dollar = 0.7493 euro) (Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Keiron Henderson)