STA, 17 April 2019 - Abanka, the country's third largest bank, posted EUR 66.7m in net profit last year, up 56.6% over 2017, according to the audited annual report released on Wednesday.
The report says that the optimisation of operations of Abanka continued in 2018, reflecting in a reduction of operating costs, which were down by 2.4% or EUR 1.8m compared to the year before.
Net interest revenue amounted to EUR 60.6m, down from EUR 71.9m in 2017, while net non-interest revenue was up to EUR 64.4m from EUR 46.8m. Impairments and provisions amounted to EUR 22m, up from EUR 8.2m in 2017.
Abanka's total assets amounted to EUR 3.73bn at the end of last year, up from EUR 3.66bn at the end of 2017.
The Abanka group's net profit was up by 57% to EUR 65.6m, while net interest revenue was down by almost 17% to EUR 61.1m.
The bank continued to lower the share of non-performing loans, which dropped by 5.6 percentage points at the group level to 4.6% through the sale of non-performing claims.
Abanka noted that the operating results, the sound capital position, a high level of liquidity and a significant reduction in non-performing loans also resulted in an improved credit rating by Moody's to investment grade in 2018.
The bank has been in 100% state ownership since it was bailed out with taxpayer money in 2013. The government must privatise Abanka to meet the commitments it made in exchange for the EU clearance of the state aid.
According to unofficial reports, three binding bids for the bank were submitted in the second half of March.
The media have mentioned the US private equity fund Apollo, Hungarian bank OTP, Serbia's AIK Banka, Austrian Erste Group, as well as US private equity funds Blackstone and Advent International as potential buyers.
While the pricing of the offers remains a secret, analysts estimated late last year the bank was worth EUR 340-460m based on the book value.