UniCredit net profit hits $588m
Rome, May 11, 2013
UniCredit yesterday reported a bigger than expected net profit in the first quarter thanks to lower bad debt provisions, a sign there might be light at the end of the tunnel soon for Italy's biggest bank by assets.
UniCredit's net profit came in at 449 million euros ($587.97 million), down 51 per cent from a year ago.
But this easily beat an analyst consensus forecast of 156m while first quarter profits in 2012 had been boosted by a one-off gain.
The bank, the first of Italy's retail banks to release results for the quarter, said inflows of new bad loans had fallen in its home market for the second quarter in a row.
"We know macroeconomic conditions are still very difficult but there is some reason to be a bit optimistic," chief executive Federico Ghizzoni told analysts in a conference call.
Like other Italian banks, UniCredit has been struggling to keep a lid on mounting bad debts that have piled up as a result of the longest recession in 20 years in Italy, the euro zone's third biggest economy.
The bank is cutting thousands of jobs to lower costs, reorganising its Italian network and selling some assets in central and eastern Europe to strengthen its finances.-Reuters