August 7, 2019 / 4:40 PM / 12 days ago

Italy's BPER profit falls on loan losses, softer revenues

MILAN, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Italian lender BPER Banca said on Wednesday its net profit fell slightly in the second quarter, dragged down by higher loan-loss provisions and weak revenues.

Italy’s sixth-largest listed bank reported a net profit of 52.5 million euros ($59 million) for the three months through June, down from 56.8 million a year earlier.

Net interest income — a measure of how much money a bank makes from its core retail business — stood at 272.3 million euros, down from 280.3 million a year earlier.

Under a three-year plan unveiled in February BPER is targeting 450 million euros in profit in 2021 by focusing on wealth management and insurance to boost fees and offset weak growth in interest income.

It also aims to cut soured loans as a percentage of total lending (NPE ratio) to below 9%, compared to 13.7% at end-June.

BPER agreed this year to take over Unipol Banca from its top shareholder, Unipol, in a deal that enabled it to separately shed 1.3 billion euros in bad loans. On completion of these transactions, the NPE ratio would fall to 11.8%.

The bank’s common equity tier 1 ratio, a key measure of financial strength, stood to 12.3% at end-June from 12.2% at end-March. ($1 = 0.8902 euros) (Reported by Andrea Mandalà Editing by Mark Bendeich)

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