Eurobank lowers 2008 profit forecast

EFG Eurobank, Greece’s second-biggest lender, posted an expected 7 percent increase in first-half profit on loan growth in Greece and Southeastern Europe but lowered its earnings target for 2008. Net income rose to 436 million euros from an adjusted 408 million euros a year earlier, the company said in statement yesterday. That matched the 436.8-million-euro median estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Income from lending gained 25 percent to 1.16 million euros after the Athens-based lender expanded into regions with faster-growing economies including Bulgaria and Romania. The bank reduced its forecast for profit this year by about 10 percent to 930 million euros as financial turmoil and rising oil and commodity prices stoke concerns of an economic slowdown and crimp income from businesses such as brokerage and asset management. «Market conditions are not expected to improve in any substantial way for the remainder of the year,» the lender said in a statement. «The new targets are both realistic and achievable.» The company expects profit of at least 1.45 million euros in 2010, compared with a previous forecast of 1.55 million euros. Analysts said Greek banks, which last year appeared immune to global economic woes as they were spared exposure to the subprime crisis, are now feeling the pinch on funding concerns and the economic outlook in the Balkans, where many have expanded.