MILAN May 12 UniCredit, Italy's
biggest bank by assets, returned to profit in the first quarter
of 2014 thanks to lower loan loss charges after last year's
massive balance-sheet clean up, it said on Monday.
UniCredit, the first top Italian retail bank to give results
for the first quarter, said its net profit came in at 712
million euros ($979 million), well above an analyst consensus
forecast of 550 million euros. Net profit in the same period of
last year stood at 449 million euros.
The bank had posted a shock 14 billion-euro annual loss in
2013, the biggest ever for an Italian lender, after sweeping
clean its balance sheet in preparation for a sector-wide health
check by European regulators.
That strategy appeared to pay off in the first quarter, with
bad loans falling for the first time since 2008, by 1.3 percent
Loan loss charges - which are in any case seasonally weaker
at the beginning of the year - fell 28.5 percent from a year
The bank said its Common equity Tier 1 ratio, a measure of
financial strength, stood at 9.5 percent compared with 9.3
percent at the end of December.
($1 = 0.7269 Euros)
(Reporting by Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Lisa Jucca)