OSLO, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Norwegian Finans Holding, the owner of the fast growing lender Bank Norwegian, reported on Tuesday a surge in loan loss provisions in the third quarter amid problems at its Finnish unit.
The bank, which is the holding firm’s sole business unit, specialises in high-interest non-mortgage lending and credit cards, has operations in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
The holding company’s third-quarter losses rose to 299 million Norwegian crowns ($37 million) from 141 million crowns a year earlier, as it raised loan loss provisions in Sweden and altered its model for calculating losses in Finland.
The holding company also said the bank had agreed to sell a portfolio of non-performing Finnish loans to debt collector Axactor, yielding cost savings and eliminating uncertainty regarding recovery of outstanding claims.
“A normalised provision level is expected for Finland going forward,” Norwegian Finans Holding said.
The holding company said July-September net interest income grew by 20 percent year-on-year but the company’s net profit was virtually unchanged at 434 million crowns against 432 million a year ago, and down from 483 million in the second quarter.
Norwegian Air is the largest shareholder of Norwegian Finans Holding with a 16 percent stake.
$1 = 8.3794 Norwegian crowns Reporting by Terje Solsvik Editing by Edmund Blair