STOCKHOLM, April 26 Sweden's Handelsbanken
reported an 8 percent rise in first-quarter operating
profit on Wednesday and beat market expectations as
lower-than-expected loan losses as well as cost cuts boosted
Handelsbanken, one of Sweden's biggest mortgage banks, saw
operating profit in the quarter increase to 5.35 billion Swedish
crowns ($610 million) compared with 4.97 billion a year earlier,
beating a mean forecast of 4.89 billion seen in a Reuters poll
Net interest income, which includes income from mortgages,
rose 4 percent to 7.08 billion crowns from 6.80 billion a year
prior but was lower than the 7.12 billion expected in the poll.
Loan losses rose to 196 million crowns, compared with 187 in
the year-prior period but was better than the expected 404
million crown loss in the analyst poll.
The bank said its ongoing work to improve efficiency
continued according to plan. Total expenses decreased by 12
percent to 4.50 billion crowns, better than the expected 4.64
billion in the poll.
Net commission income rose 4 percent to 2.35 billion crowns
from 2.17 billion a year earlier and 2.33 billion in the poll.
The banks capitalisation, the common equity tier 1 ratio,
increased to 23.8 percent from 22.7 percent a year earlier.
($1 = 8.7639 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Niklas Pollard)