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Russia's TCS lifts full-year forecast after third-quarter profit rise

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's TCS Group TCSq.L, which owns Tinkoff Bank, reported a 30% rise in third-quarter net profit on Thursday and reinstated its pre-pandemic financial forecast for the full year.

TCS welcomed its 12 millionth customer, despite the hit to Russian banking from the coronavirus crisis, thanks to its digital offering and an influx of retail investors.

As a result it expects net profit to reach at least 42 billion roubles ($546 million) this year, which would be an increase on the 36.1 billion it delivered in 2019.

Tinkoff was the subject of a potential $5.48 billion cash-and-share sale to Russian internet giant Yandex YNDX.O, but the deal fell through last month after the two sides failed to agree to certain demands.

Third-quarter net profit rose by 30% to 12.6 billion roubles, underpinned by unrelenting customer acquisition and particularly strong performance by its fee businesses, Tinkoff Chief Executive Oliver Hughes said in a statement.

Return on equity (ROE), one of the key profitability indicators for a bank, fell to 45% from 56.5% a year earlier, but grew on a quarterly basis, the company said.

The group’s non-performing loans (NPL) ratio rose to 11.1% from 9.1% at the end of 2019, but TCS said the leading indicators of risk were improving and that the NPL figure had yet to catch up.

“The percentage of loans that are 90 to 180 days overdue fell to 4% of the gross portfolio compared to 4.3% in the second quarter, as many of our clients were getting assistance in the form of short-term payment holidays in Q2 and Q3,” a TCS spokesman told Reuters.

The bank said its board had approved a fourth interim gross dividend payment of $0.25 per share, allocating around $49.8 million to third-quarter dividends.

($1 = 77.0000 roubles)

Reporting by Alexander Marrow and Anton Kolodyazhnyy; additional reporting by Tatiana Voronova; editing by Katya Golubkova, Alexander Smith and Emelia Sithole-Matarise