Greece's Piraeus Bank grows 2019 profit

ATHENS (Reuters) - Piraeus Bank BOPr.AT grew full-year 2019 net profit, helped by lower operating costs and higher net interest income, Greece's largest lender by assets said on Monday.

Piraeus Bank, which is 26.2 percent owned by the country’s HFSF bank rescue fund, reported a net profit of 270 million euros ($297.68 million) after net earnings of 185 million in 2018.

It said it included a 351 million euro pre-tax gain from the carve-out of internal bad loan to Intrum Hellas in the fourth quarter.

The bank said its non-performing exposures (NPEs) ratio stood at 49% at the end of December, with group NPEs at 24.5 billion euros, down by 3.0 billion year-on-year.

Reporting by George Georgiopoulos