MILAN, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Italy’s biggest bank UniCredit reported on Tuesday a third-quarter net profit of 838 million euros ($985 million) excluding one-off items, up sharply from a year earlier helped by lower loan losses.
UniCredit brought forward the publication of its preliminary results after accidentally releasing some figures relating to the July-September period on Monday afternoon both on its website and in an email to investors and analysts.
It was initially due to publish third-quarter earnings on Nov. 9 and said it would release the final figures on that date.
Including the 2.1 billion euro gain from the sale of its Pioneer asset manager, UniCredit’s third-quarter net profit stood at 2.82 billion euros.
The bank reported a net profit of 447 million euros a year earlier, weighed down by 1 billion euros in loan loss provisions.
Loan losses for the quarter this year fell to 598 million euros, Unicredit said.
Under new CEO Jean Pierre Mustier, the bank raised 13 billion euros in a new share issue this year to finance a balance sheet clean-up which entailed offloading 17.7 billion euros in bad debts.
UniCredit said it expected its fully-loaded core capital ratio - a measure of a bank’s ability to absorb potential losses - to top 13.5 percent at the end of September, up from 12.8 percent at the end of June.
Shares in UniCredit were little changed at the open.
“The preliminary results confirmed the ongoing trend of normalisation and we do not expect them to be a driver for the stock,” Milan-based broker Banca Akros said, reiterating a “neutral” rating on the stock.
UniCredit said fees rose 4 percent in the three months through September from a year earlier, although they were down 8 percent quarter on quarter.
Trading income fell sharply both on a quarterly and yearly basis and net interest income was also down.
However, the bank, which is cutting 14,000 staff by 2019, managed to reduce personnel and administrative costs in the period.
$1 = 0.8506 euros Reporting by Valentina Za; editing by Jason Neely