Baltic banks help buoy SEB profits

  • 2002-02-28
  • BNS
TALLINN - Sweden's Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken posted a 54 percent increase in profits from its Baltic banks last year, the bank announced last week.

Operating profits from Uhispank in Estonia, Unibanka in Latvia and Lithuania's Vilniaus Bankas totaled 61.2 million euros ($55.08 million), the Baltic News Service reported.

Increased demand for loan, leasing and savings products helped fuel the increased profits, bank officials said.

The customer bases in all three banks increased by a total of 15 percent to 1.2 million clients,

Uhispank posted a total profit of 161.6 million kroons ($9.5 million) last year compared with a loss of 99 million kroons in 2000, and the bank's total assets stood at 17.92 billion kroons.

Uhispank's operating profit last year was 399.3 million kroons, 43 percent more than in 2000, the bank reported.

But analysts said risky loans prevented the bank from turning in a higher profit.

"Uhispank's profitability has improved, and growth by 43 percent in its operating profit is a good result in every respect," said Toomas Reisenbuk, an analyst with Trigon Securities. "But contrary to Hansapank its risk-related costs were relatively high last year, nearly 1.4 percent of the average loans, which brought down the net profit and equity productivity."

Latvia's Unibanka posted an audited profit of 11.7 million lats ($18.28 million), a 12.9 percent increase over 2000, according to the bank.

Unibanka has moved ahead of Parex Bank as the country's largest bank in terms of profit, based on Parex's preliminary 2001 results. Parex reported an unaudited profit of 11.53 million lats.

Vilniaus Bankas reported a net profit of 95.2 million litas ($23.8 million) for 2001, a 15.8 percent increase from 2000.