* Sees 2012 net loss of about 330 mln euros
* Analysts' view was for a loss of 46 mln euros
* Results hit by Agos losses, Q4 loan-loss provisions
(Recasts lead, adds details throughout, background)
MILAN, March 4 Italy's No. 4 lender Banco
Popolare warned on Monday that it expected to post a
much wider full-year loss than market expectations due to weak
performance at a minority-owned unit and higher loan loss
provisions in the fourth quarter.
In a statement, the bank said it now expected to post a net
loss for 2012 of about 330 million euros ($429.31 million).
According to a view of 19 analyst forecasts posted on the
bank's website, the expected net loss for 2012 was 46 mln euros.
"The difference (with market consensus) regards primarily
the share of loss attributable to the group as a result of the
performance of the associate Agos-Ducato and total loan loss
provisions," it said.
The cooperative bank said consumer credit group Agos-Ducato,
majority owned by France's Credit Agricole, was likely
to post a higher than expected loss in the final quarter.
That would have a negative impact on its own consolidated
fourth quarter results of about 100 million euros, it added.
The market had also underestimated the impact of the cost of
credit in the fourth quarter "which based on the preliminary
data ... should stand at a little more than 650 million euros",
the bank said.
A prolonged and painful recession in Italy has driven up bad
loans at its lenders, forcing them to set aside more cash to
cover non-performing debt.
At the end of 2012 bad debts at Italian lenders rose to
around 125 billion euros.
A slow economy and tougher liquidity rules are squeezing
consumer lenders throughout Europe. But Italy has been hit
particularly hard because of cut-throat competition as well as
an economic slump which has pushed joblessness to multi-year
highs. Problems at Agos Ducato triggered a Bank of Italy
inspection in 2012.
Banco Popolare said that despite the estimates it confirmed
a Core Tier 1 ratio above the minimum target set by the European
Banking Association of 9 percent, including the sovereign
It also said it had a strong liquidity position.
($1 = 0.7687 euros)
(Reporting By Stephen Jewkes; editing by Naomi O'Leary, Bernard