(adds details on coverage ratios, LTRO, shares)
MILAN Feb 19 Mediobanca lifted
provisions for bad debts by 30 percent in the final six months
of 2013 as it prepares to incorporate the full impact of an
asset health check of euro zone lenders by the European Central
Mediobanca, the first Italian bank to issue results, said on
Wednesday second-quarter net profit jumped to 133.5 million
euros ($184 million) from 14.8 million euros a year earlier. Net
profit was down around 22 percent quarter on quarter.
Earnings in the second quarter, which in Mediobanca's case
ends in December, were helped by capital gains of 72.6 million
euros from the sale of equity stakes and lower taxes.
Fees and commissions improved after an increase in capital
market activity. But net interest income was down on a quarterly
basis, reflecting the sluggish economic environment in its core
Italian market and the high cost of funding.
Mediobanca, which for years has been at the centre of a
complex web of cross-shareholdings in Italy, has decided to
break with the past by offloading many equity investments, with
the exception of domestic insurer Generali.
Mediobanca's recent sales include stakes in RCS Mediagroup
, the publisher of influential daily Corriere della
Sera, and U.S. retailer Saks.
Mediobanca said it had increased its coverage for bad debts
to 46 percent from 45 percent with families and firms continuing
to struggle in economically-strapped Italy, and with an eye to
new classification requirements by the ECB in its review of euro
Italy's best-known investment bank also said its Core Tier 1
ratio, a measure of capital strength, stood at 11.9 percent at
the end of December against 11.7 percent in June - one of the
highest in the euro zone's third largest economy.
The bank said it had repaid 500 million euros of 4.5 billion
in cheap European Central Bank funds it took during so-called
LTRO tenders in the midst of the euro zone crisis.
Shares in Mediobanca trimmed their losses after results.
They were down 0.6 percent at 7.24 euros by 1151 GMT.
($1 = 0.7272 euros)
(Reporting by Lisa Jucca, editing by Silvia Aloisi and Mark