* KKB makes net profit of $288 mln in 2013
* Assets rise by 6.6 pct to 2.59 trillion tenge
* To complete acquisition o BTA Bank in 2nd quarter (Adds managing director quotes, details, background)
By Mariya Gordeyeva
ALMATY, April 8 (Reuters) - Kazkommertsbank (KKB), Kazakhstan’s largest lender by assets, returned to profit last year, making a net profit of 52.2 billion tenge ($288 million) thanks to lower operating expenses and an increase in fee and commission income, it said on Tuesday.
KKB incurred a net loss of 132.3 billion tenge in 2012 when it made large provisions for non-perfoming loans.
“Our strategy is to remain one of the most efficient banks on the market,” Kazkommertsbank Managing Director Sergey Mokroussov told Reuters.
KKB aid its operating expenses decreased by 3.4 percent in 2013 to 32.7 billion tenge, while fee and commission income increased by 14.8 percent to 31. billion tenge.
The bank’s assets assets increased by 6.6 percent to 2.59 trillion tenge last year.
Non-performing loans accounted for 32.4 percent of the bank’s gross loan book at the end of last year.
Mokroussov also said the bank aimed to complete the deal to buy BTA Bank from the Kazakh sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazynaf “in the second quarter of this year”.
In February KKB announced it had reached a final agreement with Kazakh businessman Kenes Rakishev to each buy a 46.5 percent stake in BTA Bank from the fund, which had bailed out BTA in the global financial crisis.
Kazkommertsbank said at the time that it would pay $465 million for its 46.5 percent stake.
Kazkommertsbank will have to take on BTA’s non-performing loans, which accounted for around 87 percent of its loan portfolio as of Jan. 1, 2014. ($1=182.04 tenge) (Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Greg Mahlich)