* Millennium plans to increase net profit to 1 bln zlotys in 2020
* BCP Polish unit’s net profit rose 35 pct in the third quarter
* Share price rises by almost 2 pct (Adds quotes and background)
WARSAW, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Poland’s Bank Millennium SA plans to increase its net profit to 1 billion zlotys ($275 million) by 2020 from around 700 million last year as accelerating economic growth helps it to attract more customers.
The Polish unit of Portuguese BCP Millennium wants to add customers twice as rapidly as to date, it said on Monday, as economic growth is likely to be maintained at above 3 percent in the coming years.
The Polish economy is expected to grow by 4.1 percent this year according to forecasts gathered in Thomson Reuters Eikon, mostly boosted by domestic consumption fuelled by government welfare spending.
Last year Millennium, Poland’s sixth ranked lender in terms of assets, reported 28-percent growth in net profit to 702 million zlotys. That figure was boosted by the sale of VISA International shares which added around 180 million zlotys.
This year, analysts expect the bank to report a net profit of around 660 million zlotys, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon estimates, thanks to the accelerating economy which improved demand for bank products and services.
Millennium plans to achieve a Return On Equity (ROE) ratio at a level which would place it among top three banks in Poland within the strategy timeline. At the end of 2016 Millennium ROE amounted to 10.4 percent.
Poland’s biggest bank — PKO BP — aims in its 2016-2020 strategy for ROE of above 10 percent.
“We want to perform among the top three,” Millennium head Joao Bras Jorge told news conference.
The bank also said its new strategy for 2018-2020 “assumes an opportunistic approach to non-organic growth options”.
But Jorge was quick to explain that he sees little chance for his bank to move upward on the list of Poland’s biggest banks in terms of assets, where it comes after Commerzbank and ING units.
The bank also said it maintans its dividend policy which assumes payouts at 35-50 percent of the yearly net profits, but 2017 and 2018 dividends depend solely on the regulator KNF’s stance, which puts pressure on banks to beef up their capital.
Millennium is considering a subordinated bond issue. The bank’s Chief Financial Officer Fernando Bicho said he does not exclude sale of debt worth 500 million zloty this year.
In the third quarter Millennium’s net profit rose 35 percent year-on-year to 188 million zlotys, slightly above analysts’ expectations, which sparked an almost 2-percent share rise by 1245 GMT.
The bank’s representatives declined to give a guidance for the fourth quarter results. (Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Keith Weir)