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Portugal's Novo Banco 9-month net loss soars 49% on provisions

LISBON, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Portugal’s Novo Banco, which emerged from the ruins of the collapsed Banco Espirito Santo, reported a 49% leap in its net loss for January-September to 853 million euros ($1 billion)following provisions to discontinue its business in Spain.

The bank, 75% owned by Lone Star since October 2017 and 25% by the state-backed Portuguese Resolution Fund, said late on Friday its results were also hit by provisions for bad loans.

The impairments and provisions for the exit from its retail network in Spain and for higher credit risk totalled around 727 million euros, the bank said, adding it also took a hit of 187.2 million euros due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, sources told Reuters that Novo Banco was looking to sell its loss-making retail network in Spain, seeking to bolster its balance sheet and prevent further losses. The provisions reflect expected losses on any deal.

The bank has already sold assets in France, Asia and Cape Verde.

Novo Banco’s recurrent net income fell 30% to 98 million euros, but the bank said the results showed its “value-creation capacity and sustainable profitability”.

Net interest income, a measure of earnings on loans minus deposit costs, increased 9.3% to nearly 373 million euros.

The lender halved its non-performing loans (NPL) to 2.8 billion euros in September, after it sold problematic asset portfolios, and cut its NPL ratio to 9.7% from 19.9% a year earlier.

Portugal is going through its worst recession in almost a century due to the pandemic, with the government predicting the economy will contract 8.5% this year.

$1 = 0.8445 euros Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Catarina Demony and Mark Potter

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