* Posts 2013 net profit of 2.92 bln eur on goodwill
* Excluding write-back, posts 304 mln eur 2013 loss
* Non-performing loans ease to 32.7 pct of book from 32.9
pct in Q3
(Adds CEO comment, details)
By George Georgiopoulos
ATHENS, March 10 Greece's fourth-largest lender
Alpha Bank reported a profit in 2013, thanks to an
accounting gain on its acquisition of Emporiki Bank, but without
the one-off it was loss-making as provisions for bad debt
Greek banks struggled with bad loans because of a deep
recession last year. Record unemployment of nearly 28 percent
has made it hard for borrowers to service their loans, forcing
lenders to provision for bad debt, although the pace of rise is
Non-performing loans (NPLs) were the focus of a health check
the country's central bank ran to assess whether Greece's top
banks are adequately capitalised to absorb further credit
Alpha, 81.7 percent owned by Greece's HFSF bank rescue fund,
said that including an upwardly revised 3.3 billion euro
goodwill write-back on Emporiki booked in the first quarter, it
posted a net profit of 2.92 billion euros ($4.05 billion) last
Excluding the write-back, Alpha narrowed its loss to 304
million euros last year from a loss of 1.08 billion in 2012.
Provisions for non-performing loans - credit in arrears for
more than 90 days - rose 15.4 percent to 1.92 billion euros,
with NPLs decreasing to 32.7 percent of its book from 32.9
percent in the end of the third quarter.
Based on central bank data, non-performing loans held by
Greek banks rose to 31.2 percent of their total loan book at the
end of the third quarter last year from 29.3 percent at the end
of the first half.
"In 2014 we expect further improvement to our core revenues
from decreased funding costs," Alpha's Chief Executive Dimitris
Mantzounis said in a statement.
Net interest income rose 19.8 percent last year compared to
2102, helped by lower wholesale funding costs and a drop in
deposit rates, with Alpha saying it expected the trend to
continue in the next quarters.
Alpha, with a current market value of 7.6 billion euros,
had the lowest capital shortfall - 262 million euros - among the
country's top four banks, a stress test by the central bank
showed last week.
The bank plans a share offering of up to 1.2 billion euros
to boost its capital and pay back 940 million euros of preferred
shares owned by the state.
The equity offering, without pre-emption rights for its
existing shareholders and underwritten by Citigroup and J.P.
Morgan, will increase its free-float and the liquidity of its
stock. ($1 = 0.7214 euros)