November 16, 2017 / 5:33 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Eurobank posts higher Q3 profit before costs of Romanian overhaul

* Eurobank reports Q3 net profit of 61 mln euros

* Bank slips to 15 mln loss after discontinued operations

* NPLs are 35.2 pct of book in Q3, from 35.3 in Q2 (Adds details, quote)

ATHENS, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Eurobank made a 61 million euro ($71.8 million) net profit in the third quarter, up 64 percent from the previous quarter, as provisions for impaired loans remained broadly flat, Greece’s third-largest lender by assets said on Thursday.

But it slipped to a loss of 15 million euros after taking account of one-off expenses related to discontinued operations and restructuring costs from a planned disposal of assets in Romania.

Eurobank said it is in the final stage of negotiations for the sale of its Romanian subsidiary, Bancpost, which is part of a restructuring plan agreed with European Union authorities.

The bank, in which Greek rescue fund HFSF has a 2.4 percent stake, said credit loss provisions fell 2.4 percent quarter-on-quarter to 178 million euros.

It said non-performing loans (NPLs) - based on credit where repayments due have not been made for more than 90 days - stood at 35.2 percent of its book at the end of September, a touch lower than the 35.3 percent in the second quarter.

Lenders have agreed with regulators to cut the level of NPLs by 2019. European Central Bank stress tests of Greek banks, expected to be completed next May, are aimed at uncovering any potential shortage of capital before Greece leaves its 86 billion-euro bailout in August.

“Solving the NPLs and liquidity issues, inherited (from) the long-lasting crisis, is the key for our ability to finance the real economy in an effective manner,” said Eurobank Chairman Nikolaos Karamouzis.

Eurobank was focusing on that issue and the quarterly results showed its efforts were bearing fruit, he said.

The non-performing exposures (NPEs) ratio - which includes restructured loans as well as NPLs - was 44.7 percent in the third quarter, down from 45.1 in the second quarter.

Eurobank in October sold a portfolio of 1.5 billion euros of NPLs to Sweden’s Intrum, which Eurobank CEO Fokion Karavias said has “a corresponding positive effect” in the reduction of NPEs.

The bank said it planned a similar sale to an undisclosed buyer in coming months. ($1 = 0.8493 euros) (Reporting by Athens newsroom; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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