November 16, 2017 / 7:58 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Georgia's TBC Bank Q3 profit up 29 pct, buoyed by strong lending

(Adds details, background)

Nov 16 (Reuters) - TBC Bank Group Plc, Georgia’s largest retail bank, reported a 29 percent jump in third-quarter underlying net profit, buoyed by robust lending, and maintained its medium-term return-on-equity (ROE) target.

TBC, which became Georgia’s largest bank by loans and deposits after buying JSC Bank Republic from SocGen and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), said net interest margin stood at 6.2 percent compared with 8.3 percent a year earlier.

Net profit jumped to 88.0 million laris ($32.8 million) in the quarter ended Sept. 30.

The cost-to-income ratio stood at 39.8 percent, compared with 41 percent a year earlier, TBC said.

TBC’s market share in total loans grew by 8.5 percentage points to 38.2 percent from a year earlier, as of Sept. 30.

Gross loans and advances to customers stood at 7.77 billion laris at that date, a rise of 55.2 percent from a year earlier.

In August, the bank cited favourable macroeconomic conditions and stuck to its medium-term ROE forecast of over 20 percent and loan book growth target of about 15 percent.

Georgia’s economy expanded by 4.7 percent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2017, official data showed last month, up from 2.6 percent in the same period of 2016, due to higher exports and remittances from abroad.

The former Soviet republic, through which pipelines carry Caspian oil and gas to Europe, is recovering from a fall in exports and a plunge in the currencies of its main trading partners, which have depressed economic growth in recent years.

Shareholders of TBC, which was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2014, include the World Bank’s International Finance Corp, the EBRD and JPMorgan.

FMO, the Dutch development bank, and SocGen sold their stakes in the Georgian Bank this year.

($1 = 2.6850 laris)

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain and Saangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter

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