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Financials

UPDATE 2-Russia's VTB record Q1 net profit beats forecast

* Q1 net at record 15.3 bln rbls vs 10.2 bln rbls Rtrs poll

* Retains forecast for 50 bln rouble 2010 net profit

* Growth in lending due to pick up, rates under pressure (Adds CFO on quarterly profit outlook, margin, loan growth)

MOSCOW, June 2 (Reuters) - VTB VTBR.MM, Russia's second biggest lender, returned to the black with a record 15.3 billion rouble profit for the first three months of 2010 after six quarters of losses.

The company beat analysts’ estimate of 10.2 billion roubles ($326 million), but decided not to raise its full-year forecast.

“We do not expect that from quarter to quarter we will show record profits. I hope that we will reach a profit of 50 billion roubles (for 2010), and for me that is enough for now,” Herbert Moos told reporters on Wednesday.

The state-controlled lender on Wednesday posted the highest quarterly profit in its history as the economy recovers from recession.

“While we have been helped by an improving economic backdrop, I am pleased that the efforts to re-orientate the group towards areas which can drive profitability are bearing fruit,” Andrei Kostin, VTB’s president said in a statement.

The bank increased net interest margin to 5.2 percent from 4.1 in the first quarter 2009 and well above the 4.6 percent it plans for 2010 as a whole. [ID:nLDE64Q0JI].

Moos reiterated the bank’s expectation that the margin would not fall below 4.6 percent this year.

With banks awash in uninvested capital, a result of nascent economic recovery, VTB said lending rates were under pressure while it was forced to compete for quality borrowers, and it called demand “subdued”. Total loans were flat.

“For now we do not see the need to revise the forecast of 15 percent (growth in the loan portfolio),” Moos said. I have every expectation that the economy will stabilise. Central bank data showed that growth started in April-May, and we expect this growth will continue.” [ID:nLDE6501XA]

Its investment banking business, which it started from scratch in 2008, earned 6.1 billion roubles before taxes, while corporate banking and retail banking made 9.1 billion roubles and 6.7 billion roubles of pretax profits, respectively. (Reporting by Dmitry Sergeyev, writing by Melissa Akin and Toni Vorobyova; editing by Will Waterman) ($1=31.26 Rouble)

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