Eurobank’s 9-mth profit up 29.4 pct

EFG Eurobank, Greece’s second-largest lender, reported a 29.4 percent rise in nine-month group net profit yesterday, thanks to strong lending volumes at home and in Southeast Europe. Eurobank’s earnings were -633 million, at the top end of analyst forecasts. Analysts polled by Reuters had on average expected nine-month earnings to grow 26.3 percent to -618 million. Eurobank, also present in Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Serbia, Ukraine and Turkey, said group net interest income rose 23.4 percent to -1.44 billion. Greek banks have been expanding into the Balkan markets and Turkey to secure new areas of growth. The bank confirmed its earlier outlook for 2007-2010 profitability. It expects full-year earnings of at least -820 million in 2007, projecting that profits would grow to -1.55 billion by 2010. «Total loans recorded a robust increase of 33.5 percent year-on-year to -43.1 billion, driven by brisk credit growth in Greece and abroad,» the group said in a statement. Eurobank said its network in Greece and abroad reached 1,500 branches and points of sale, of which 950 were outside Greece. (Reuters)