RIGA - Parex Bank saw its earnings skyrocket last year to 30 million lats (43 million euros), more than double what the bank, Latvia's third largest by assets, posted in 2004.
The bank's assets rose 29.1 percent to 1.7 billion lats by the end of 2005, in line with the bank's expectations.
In 2004 Parex Bank had been the largest financial institution in Latvia in terms of assets, but last year it was overtaken by Hansabanka and SEB Latvijas Unibanka, which now occupy 1st and 2nd place.
In the past the bank's president, Valery Kargin, has deflected criticism by saying that asset-growth wasn't an end in itself and that the bank's goal was to boost profitability and increase shareholder value.
Bank shareholders decided to pay out 5 million lats of last year's profit in dividends and place 25.1 million lats toward undistributed profit, Kargin told a press conference last week.
Two years ago the bank began selling shares in small placements as part of its long-term goal to go public and acquire a listing on a major European stock exchange.
He said that deposits amounted to 1.2 billion lats at the end of 2005, a 18.3 percent rise from the beginning of the year, while the bank's loan portfolio amounted to 827.1 million lats, a 24.9 percent increase.
By the end of 2005, Parex Bank had issued 248.4 million lats in individual loans, 60.7 percent more year-on-year, and 564.874 million lats to companies.
The bank's own capital totaled 154.1 million lats, up 23.1 percent from the end of 2004, Kargin said.
The bank's securities portfolio increased by 54 percent last year to 441 million lats, he said, adding that Parex Asset Management increased its Latvian funds 2.4 times to 39.3 million lats.