March 29, 2017 / 4:40 PM / 10 months ago

Portugal's Montepio expects to return to profit in 2017 -CEO

LISBON, March 29 (Reuters) - Portugal’s Caixa Economica Montepio Geral, Portugal’s third largest listed bank, is set to post its first profit in 2017 after three years of losses, chief executive Jose Felix Morgado said on Wednesday.

Morgado also told Reuters in an interview that the bank does not “at this moment” need to raise capital.

Caixa reported on Wednesday a 2016 full-year net loss of 86.5 million euros.

Morgado said the bank now expected to turn around three years of losses.

“Our ambition, our expectation, is to reach positive results in 2017 and the development of the results until the middle of March confirm that expectation, due to growth in our core banking products,” Morgado told Reuters.

Caixa’s results have been weighed down in the past few years by non-performing loans and exposure to the real estate and construction sectors, which have still not fully recovered from the country’s debt crisis.

The bank has cut costs sharply in the past year, including by pruning its branch network in 2016 by 100 to 327. The bank has sold 1,938 properties and is negotiating the sale of a portfolio of non-performing loans for around 1 billion euros.

“The implementation of various measures will allow us to meet our capital ratio requirements,” he said. “At this moment, there is no need for a cash call.”

Reporting By Sergio Goncalves, writing by Axel Bugge, editing by David Evans

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