VIENNA Aug 6 Bank Austria, the central and
eastern Europe (CEE) arm of Italian bank UniCredit
reported a rise in first-half net profit and was positive about
the outlook for the region despite the East-West standoff over
"Although the geopolitical tensions in Ukraine call European
and CEE growth into question, the macroeconomic scenario has
become more encouraging," Gianni Franco Papa, head of its
market-leading central and eastern Europe division, said in a
Bank Austria generated net profit of 426 million euros (569
million US dollars) in the second quarter, bringing first-half
net profit to 776 million, up 34 percent as falling writedowns
for bad loans offset a 4 percent dip in operating income.
Parent UniCredit on Tuesday beat earnings forecasts with a
12 percent increase in second-quarter net profit, helped by a
strong performance in eastern Europe.
Bank Austria's net writedowns of loans and provisions for
guarantees and commitments in the first six months fell 35
percent to 332 million euros.
In central and eastern Europe, net loan writedowns fell by a
quarter to 300 million due to higher releases of provisions in
several countries, especially Croatia, said Bank Austria, whose
rivals in the region include Raiffeisen Bank International
and Erste Group.
The provisioning charge in its Austrian customer business
shrank 72 percent to 32 million due to higher releases of
previous provisions and a lower new volume of impaired loans.
(1 US dollar = 0.7482 euro)
(Reporting by Michael Shields. Editing by Jane Merriman)