MOSCOW Jan 31 Sberbank, Russia's top
lender by assets, expects to post a slight rise in net profit
this year, its deputy CEO said on Friday, anticipating it will
outpace the growth of the domestic market while controlling
Sberbank, which accounts for around a third of total lending
in Russia and is viewed by many investors as a proxy for the
economy as a whole, sees domestic corporate lending growing by
11 to 12 percent and retail loans expanding by between 20 and 25
"We expect our profit to be slightly higher than in 2013,"
Alexander Morozov told a conference call on Friday. "We expect
to grow a bit better in loans and deposits compared to the
Sberbank, headed by a former economy minister German Gref,
posted net profit up 13 percent at 392.6 billion roubles ($11
billion) in 2013 under Russian accounting standards.
Sberbank's results under Russian accounting rules are close
to those under international norms and are indicators for the
market on how Russia's biggest bank - and the domestic banking
sector in general - performed.
The bank will publish results under international standards
by the end of March.
Sberbank is being impacted by Russia's faltering economy,
whose growth was just over 1 percent last year. The country sees
average annual growth of 2.5 percent over the next two decades,
compared with more than 6 percent in the previous decade.
Sberbank has already started to suffer from a rise in bad
loans, including in credit cards, and high provisions are eating
into its profits.
Under Russian standards, it set aside 97.3 billion roubles
to cover potential bad loans last year, up from 29.9 billion the
On Friday, Morozov declined to comment in detail about bad
loans, but said the bank took the necessary measures to
stabilise the quality of its loan portfolio. He promised to
address the issue further following the company's fourth-quarter
Morozov added that the bank sees its return on equity at
around 20 percent this year, slightly down from 20.9 percent for
the first nine months of 2013, but still double its closest
European peers such as HSBC, Europe's largest bank by
stock market value.
For 2012, Sberbank paid shareholders 17 percent of its
internationally reported profit in dividends - or 2.57 roubles
per ordinary share and 3.20 roubles per preferred share - and
Morozov said that for 2013, the payout may increase to some 20
percent, but the decision needs to be approved by management.
($1 = 34.9626 Russian roubles)
(Reporting by Katya Golubkova; Editing by David Holmes)