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STOCKHOLM Jan 29 Nordea NDA.ST, the Nordic
region's biggest bank by market value, said on Wednesday it
plans to accelerate its cost savings programme as its
fourth-quarter operating profit landed below expectations.
The bank also said it aimed to raise its dividend payout
ratio this year and next.
Operating profit for the period was 1.01 billion euros
($1.38 billion) compared with a mean forecast for 1.10 billion
seen in a Reuters poll of analysts and a year-ago 1.03 billion.
"Since we foresee in the coming years a lower loan demand,
lower customer activity and lower interest rates than previously
expected, we will increase our focus on cost efficiency," CEO
Christian Clausen said in a statement.
The bank now aims to create 900 million euros in cost
savings from 2013 to 2015, up from a previous 450 million euros.
($1 = 0.7319 euros)
(Reporting by Mia Shanley and Johan Ahlander)