SEB in Estonia turns loss into a profit

28.10.2010, 09:48

The Estonian arm of SEB, the second-largest bank in the Baltic countries, ended the third quarter with a profit of 227 million kroons as loan losses fell and nine-month profit in the amoutn of 229 million kroons. In comparison, Estonia's largest bank Swedbank reported 662 million quaterly profit, reported ERR.

A year ago SEB Eesti made a quarterly loss of 64 million kroons. Third-quarter turnover was 472 million kroons.

The bank reduced loan impairments by 11 million kroons in the third quarter. A year ago the provisions amounted to 323 million kroons.

Banks operating in Estonia earned a total net profit of 754 million kroons in the third quarter.

SEB Group said third-quarter profit surged, beating analysts’ estimates, as loan losses dropped in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Net income was 581 billion kronor ($86 million), compared with 25 million kronor a year earlier. Loan impairments fell 94 percent to 196 million kronor in the quarter from a year earlier, reported Bloomberg.

SEB and Swedbank AB, the largest banks in the Baltic countries, suffered soaring loan losses in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania last year after the three former Soviet states experienced the deepest recessions in the European Union. In the third quarter, SEB posted its first operating profit at its Baltic operations in two years.

“The economic turnaround in the region is more visible today than it was in the spring,” Chief Executive Officer Annika Falkengren said in the statement. “Non-performing loan volumes continued to drop in all three Baltic countries. As a result, we have released some collective provisions in both Latvia and Lithuania in this quarter.”

In the three months through September, Swedbank posted its first profit at its Baltic unit since the fourth quarter of 2008 after loan losses fell, it said last week. Nordea Bank AB’s loan-loss ratio in the Baltic countries fell to 88 basis points in the period, from 114 basis points in the second quarter. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.