October 30, 2012 / 6:36 AM / in 5 years

Erste keeps 2012 outlook; Q3 profit misses poll

VIENNA, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Erste Group Bank kept its 2012 outlook on Tuesday to see operating profit slightly behind 2011 levels as economies across Europe weaken and its campaign to scale back non-core assets hits revenue.

The Austrian bank swung to a third-quarter net profit after minorities of 143.7 million euros ($185.5 million) from a year-earlier loss of nearly 1.5 billion after big writedowns. Analysts polled by Reuters had on average expected 157 million euros.

“Despite weaker macroeconomic prospects across Europe and as a consequence of the continued reduction of non-core assets, decreasing yield levels, the absence of loan growth on an aggregated basis and limited demand in the securities business Erste Group anticipates that the 2012 operating result will be only slightly behind that of 2011,” it said.

It reiterated it expected risk costs of around 2.0 billion euros in 2012, with risk costs peaking in Romania this year. It still saw its Romanian subsidiary returning to profitability in 2013. ($1 = 0.7749 euros) (Reporting by Michael Shields)

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