* Jan-Sept 2012 net profit $131.8 million
* Net interest income rises, gains on forex, precious metals
* NPLs account for 28.7 pct of gross loans
ALMATY, Dec 7 Kazakh lender Kazkommertsbank
said nine-month net profit rose 9.4 percent
year-on-year, bolstered by higher net interest income and a gain
on its foreign exchange and precious metals operations.
Kazkommertsbank, which vies with Halyk Bank to be
the largest lender in Kazakhstan by assets, said in a statement
on Friday that net profit reached 19.6 billion tenge ($131.8
million) in the first nine months of the year.
Net interest income before provisions for impairment losses
rose by 6 percent to 91.5 billion tenge, while other income more
than quadrupled due largely to gains on the bank's foreign
exchange and precious metals operations.
These gains were partly offset by a 2 percent year-on-year
increase in operating expenses.
Persistent bad loans continue to hamper the recovery of
Kazakhstan's banking sector, hit hard by the global financial
crisis in 2007-08 which laid bare banks' exposure to bloated
real estate markets and their reliance on external funding.
Ninety-day non-performing loans (NPLs) still account for
more than 30 percent of the cumulative portfolio of the
country's 38 banks.
Kazkommertsbank said NPLs accounted for 28.7 percent of its
gross loans as of Sept. 30, compared with 28.6 percent at the
end of 2011. The bank's adjusted net interest margin increased
to 3.8 percent.
Kazkommertsbank, which operates subsidiaries in Russia,
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, had total assets of 2.56 trillion
tenge ($17.0 billion) as of Sept. 30.
Though it regularly trades first place with Halyk Bank in
terms of total assets, Halyk is more profitable, with net profit
of almost 54 billion tenge ($359 million) in the first nine
(Reporting by Robin Paxton; Editing by Mike Nesbit)