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NLB Reports EUR 50M Loss for 9 Months (adds)

Ljubljana, 10 November (STA) - Slovenia's biggest banking group, NLB, reported a EUR 50m net loss for the first nine months of the year, blaming continuing weakening of its loan portfolio for the red numbers.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the NLB said the group had made a EUR 14.9m loss in the third quarter, which comes on top of the EUR 34.6m loss from the first half of the year.

The group has been struggling with red numbers since late 2009, when a bad fourth quarter caused it a loss of EUR 86.8m for the year, after operating at a profit through the first nine months.

The third-quarter loss this year was caused by EUR 87m in fresh write-downs and provisions stemming from further weakening of the loan portfolio.

Earnings before provisions in the third quarter stood at EUR 71.6m. With the fresh provisions, the banks total loan cover now accounts for 6.2% of the loan portfolio.

Moreover, the group, with 51 members in 17 countries, registered a EUR 570m drop in its total assets in the third quarter, which stood at EUR 19bn.

Non-bank deposits expanded by EUR 90.3m to EUR 10.6bn in the latest quarter, while non-bank loans were down EUR 170.6m to EUR 12.2bn. The bulk of the drop in loans was to companies.

Net interest revenues of the group amounted to EUR 109.9m from July to September. The total interest revenues for the first nine months amounted to EUR 337.3m, which is nearly 9% more than in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the group's total costs fell in the first nine months to EUR 291.1m from EUR 297m in the same period of 2009. Costs in the third quarter stood at EUR 92.8m, down 6% on the same period a year earlier.

According to the statement posted on the website of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange, the group's capital adequacy stood at 10.9%, which is 0.2 points more than at the end of 2009. Tier 1 capital was down 0.1 points to 6.8%.

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