* Erste writes down 300 mln euros, mainly for Romanian BCR
* Expects net profit of 450 mln euros for 2012
* Shares down 0.6 percent
(Adds details, background)
VIENNA, Jan 15 Austrian bank Erste Group
is writing down goodwill by 300 million euros ($401
million), mainly on its Romanian subsidiary BCR, it said on
The bank said it now expects to post a net profit of about
450 million euros for 2012 as a result of the writedown and the
recently announced disposal of its Ukranian subsidiary, after a
loss in 2011, but intends to pay a dividend for 2012.
The bank, which vies with Raiffeisen Bank International
as central and eastern Europe's second-biggest lender
after UniCredit, reiterated its forecast for operating
profit and lending risk costs.
It said in October that its operating profit in 2012 would
dip as weak European economies and its reduction in non-core
assets weighed on revenues, and that it expected risk costs of
around 2 billion euros for 2012.
Erste made a loss of 206 million euros in the first nine
months of 2012 in Romania, which has proved a tough market for
banks amid an economic slump and concerns about corruption and
fraud, but has said it expects the unit to return to profit this
It said on Tuesday the writedown was due to higher market
risk premiums resulting in rising discount rates employed in
The bank added that it would report significantly improved
capital ratios as of end-2012, as goodwill was excluded from the
regulatory capital calculation.
Shares in Erste slipped 0.6 percent to 26.42 euros by 0958
GMT, when the Stoxx Europe 600 banking sector index was
down 0.4 percent.
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Greg Mahlich)