February 28, 2019 / 10:06 AM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-Russia's Sberbank hits record 2018 net profit, Q4 growth slows

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MOSCOW, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender, reported record high net profit for 2018 despite slower growth in the final quarter.

Its net profit rose 11.1 percent to 831.7 billion roubles ($12.63 billion) but growth slowed to 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter for a net profit of 176.2 billion.

Its quarterly net interest income fell 0.7 percent but net fee and commission income was up 8.4 percent and its operating income before provisions rose 4.6 percent.

Sberbank has outperformed rivals during Russia’s economic crisis and has reported record profits for a few years in a row.

Its closest rival, VTB, this week reported a 12.7 percent fall in fourth quarter net profit.

Sberbank’s reserves held against bad loans fell to 35.9 billion roubles in the fourth quarter from 67 billion roubles a year earlier.

During the quarter the central bank raised its key interest rate to 7.75 percent, its highest since late 2017.

$1 = 65.8344 roubles Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Tatiana Voronova; editing by Jason Neely

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