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WARSAW, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Poland's largest lender PKO BP beat expectations with a smaller than expected drop in third-quarter net profit, cushioned by the sale of its real estate assets, it said on Monday.
The state-controlled lender said that its third-quarter net profit fell by almost 6 percent to 768.5 million zlotys ($196.66 million), reflecting a new tax on banks' assets. Analysts had expected a fall to 730 million zlotys.
PKO's sale of some parts of its real estate business Qualia, boosted the result.
But the bank also improved its net interest income by more than 8 percent to 1,97 billion zlotys in the third quarter.
"I suspect that analysts had expected a smaller than in reality positive impact of the Qualia one-off, which gave the bank 114 million zlotys (at the gross profit level)," said Michal Konarski, an analyst with DM mBank brokerage.
"The difference between expectations and the actual result is small enough to expect a neutral market reaction," he added.
PKO BP's share price has fallen 2.3 percent this year, outperforming the wider banking index. The bank announced last week it was buying Raiffeisen's Polish leasing business. ($1 = 3.9077 zlotys) (Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Louise Heavens)