Handelsbanken launches cost cutting drive, charge hits Q3 profit

STOCKHOLM, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Sweden’s Handelsbanken reported quarterly net earnings below market expectations on Wednesday as it booked a restructuring charge to launch a sweeping cost-cutting plan.

Third-quarter net profit fell to 3.57 billion Swedish crowns ($369 million) from a year-ago 4.22 billion to come in well below an analysts’ mean forecast of 4.11 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

The bank said it was booking a restructuring cost of 900 million crowns in the quarter for a programme to cut annual spending by about 1.5 billion crowns. The charge was not included in analysts estimates.

$1 = 9.6675 Swedish crowns Reporting by Niklas Pollard and Colm Fulton; editing by Johannes Hellstrom