TEL AVIV, March 31 Bank Leumi,
Israel's second-largest lender, said on Monday it swung to a
profit in the fourth quarter, helped by a drop in credit loss
provisions and higher financing income.
Leumi recorded a quarterly net profit of 348 million shekels
($99.4 million), compared with a loss of 259 million a year
earlier when the bank took a charge related to a U.S. tax
investigation. This was below analysts' expectations in a
Reuters poll of 458 million shekels.
The bank's results were pushed back from an initial date of
March 20 due to a delay in reporting by conglomerate Israel Corp
, in which it holds a key stake.
Leumi posted a 1.5 percent rise in net interest income to
1.81 billion shekels, while its credit loss charge fell nearly
60 percent to 155 million.
The bank said it would reduce its workforce by 300 in 2014
as part of an efficiency plan to lay off 1,000 employees between
2012 and 2014.
Its core Tier I capital to risk-weighted assets ratio rose
to 9.43 percent at the end of 2013 from 8.55 percent at the end
($1 = 3.5000 Israeli Shekels)
(Reporting by Tova Cohen and Steven Scheer)