Sberbank to beat market expectations

SBERBANK, Russia’s top lender, said it may revise its conservative full-year forecast at the end of this quarter after beating market estimates with an all-time high profit in the first quarter.

The state-run bank so far has estimated it will have a net profit of 100 billion roubles for the whole of 2010.

“There will be volatility from month to month... We will revise our forecasts based on the second quarter,” Anton Karamzin, the bank’s chief financial officer, said yesterday.

The bank posted a profit of 43.5 billion roubles ($1.37bn) in the first quarter, up from 0.6bn the previous year and higher than the 38.2bn expected by analysts, mainly due to cost cuts and lower provisions on bad loans.

Sberbank’s profitability was back to normal as asset quality has been improving compared with the same period in 2009 but it is to early to release provisions against bad loans, Sberbank financial director Alexander Morozov said.

Fresh provisions against bad loans stood at 54.3bn roubles in the first quarter, a decline of 40.1 per cent year-on-year, the bank said.