May 22, 2017 / 10:20 AM / 6 months ago

Serbia's Komercijalna Banka Q1 net profit rises, lending helps

BELGRADE, May 22 (Reuters) - Serbian lender Komercijalna Banka’s net profit almost double to 2.48 billion dinars ($22.56 million) in the first quarter due to higher lending, new digital products and improved debt collection through the courts, it said on Monday.

Net profit at Serbia’s second-largest bank in the first-quarter last year was 1.4 billion dinars.

The bank ended 2016 with an 8.06 billion dinars loss, partly due to provisions against bad loans which had totalled 25 percent of its lending.

The Serbian government is due to sell its 41.7 percent stake in Komercijalna Banka this year. In 2015 Nomura was appointed to advise on the sale.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank group, own 24.4 and 10.1 percent stakes respectively.

Komercijalna Banka has a 12.9 percent market share in terms of assets, trailing behind Banka Intesa, part of Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo.

Chief Executive Alexander Picker said management’s primary task in the privatisation process was to maintain and increase bank’s value.

$1 = 109.9500 Serbian dinars Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Susan Thomas

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