Postal Savings Bank profits climb

The Postal Savings Bank (TT) expects its net profits to grow 22 percent this year, thanks to increased retail lending, the bank’s chief executive said yesterday. «We expect pretax profit to rise at least 15 percent year-on-year, with net profit up about 22 percent,» TT’s CEO Panos Tsoupidis told Reuters in an interview. He said a 47 percent drop in earnings in the first quarter was mainly due to high comparative figures from a year earlier and would not set the pace for full-year profit. TT also expects to increase its dividend payout this year. «We had a surge in trading gains in the first quarter of 2006 due to the adoption of international accounting standards. The profit drop will not continue in the coming quarters.» TT is undergoing a modernization program, seeking to increase its loans-to-deposits ratio, currently about 50 percent, to 80 percent by the end of 2009, he said. About 65 percent of the bank’s profit currently comes from trading, mainly in bonds. The Postal Savings Bank, which has a market capitalization of -2.35 billion and deposits of about -11 billion, began operating as a retail lender in 2004, reporting a net profit of -137.2 million euros in 2006. «We expect our lending to households in 2007 to rise by about 40 percent, with -2 billion in new loans and a loan portfolio of about -7 billion by the end of the year,» Tsoupidis said. «We want 65 percent of our profit to be recurring by 2009.» The bank, which operates exclusively in Greece, has a network of about 138 branches throughout the country, while clients can also access its services through the country’s post offices. Greece, which last year sold a 35 percent stake in the bank in an initial public offer, has said it wants to further divest its holding, selling another 15 percent stake this year to institutional investors. «We are ready whenever the government decides to go ahead with the sale. We want the state to lower its stake to below 50 percent,» Tsoupidis said. This could make it easier for management to make quicker decisions and compete in a liberalized market, he said. TT is not looking to expand outside Greece before 2009, as it is focused on cementing its position in the Greek market, he said. Tsoupidis said TT would also seek to sell its 19 percent stake in small rival Attica Bank, as part of its plans to focus on its own operations. «We want to sell the stake and I hope that by the end of the year, we will have completed the sale,» Tsoupidis said. «This will coincide with the Loans & Consignments Fund’s divestment in Attica Bank.» (Reuters)

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.