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Sberbank sees profits soar as bad loans drop

SBERBANK, Russia’s biggest lender, said yesterday that quarterly net profit jumped to 43.2bn roubles (£1bn), from 0.3bn roubles a year ago.

The significant improvement was a result of a sharp reduction in provision charges for bad loans, the company added.

State-controlled Sberbank, which holds roughly a quarter of Russia’s total banking assets, hopes to earn no less than 100bn roubles this year as the country recovers from its first recession in a decade.

“The provision charges stood at 8.1bn roubles in the first quarter (according to Russian accounting standards) versus 92.2bn roubles for the first quarter of 2009,” the bank said.

Sberbank posted a 24.4bn roubles net profit for 2009, down around 75 per cent year-on-year, after it took huge provisions against bad debt during the worst of the financial crisis.

The total volume of provisions for bad loans was 599bn roubles at the end of the first quarter, or 2.2 times over the total bad debts with the bank.

The central bank has recently given the economy a clean bill of health following increased lending from the banks.