November 8, 2017 / 6:20 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Georgian bank BGEO's Q3 profit down ahead of split

Nov 8 (Reuters) - Georgia’s BGEO Group Plc, which is planning to split its banking and investment businesses, reported a 20.3 percent fall in third-quarter profits on Wednesday.

The London-listed Tbilisi-based bank, formerly known as Bank of Georgia Holdings, said profit fell to 112.8 million Georgian lari ($43.05 million) in the quarter ended Sept. 30.

Revenue rose 22.6 percent to 330.4 million lari, while the net interest margin was unchanged on a year ago.

The company said its banking business posted profit growth of 7.1 percent to 91.9 million lari while profit at its healthcare business, which is Georgia’s largest health insurance provider, was flat at 9.7 million laris.

BGEO said in July that it intended to split into two, a London-listed banking business and a London listed investment arm, BGEO Investments.

Georgia’s economy expanded by 4.7 percent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2017, official data showed last month, up from 2.6 percent in the same period of 2016, due to higher exports and remittances from abroad.

The former Soviet republic, through which pipelines carry Caspian oil and gas to Europe, is recovering from a fall in exports and a plunge in the currencies of its main trading partners, which have depressed economic growth in recent years.

Georgia’s economy expanded by 2.2 percent last year and the government in Tbilisi expects it to grow 4.5 percent this year, helped by private sector developments and government spending on infrastructure projects.

The IMF said earlier this month that it now expected Georgia’s economy to grow by 4.3 percent this year, up from a previous forecast of 3.5 percent. ($1 = 2.6200 laris) (Reporting by Rama Venkat Raman and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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