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BPER Banca posts H1 profit of €100.5M, reduces bad debt

BPER Banca SpA reported first-half 2019 attributable profit of €100.5 million and reduced its nonperforming loans by 1.5% to €6.9 billion compared to Dec. 31, 2018.

The Italian bank said its profit for the half pertaining to the parent company was not directly comparable to the prior-year period's €307.9 million due to the nonrecurring gains it booked in 2018.

BPER completed several transactions in July that it announced in the first half, including the acquisition of a minority interest in Banco di Sardegna SpA and an additional shareholding in Arca Holding. It also acquired 100% of Unipol Banca SpA and sold a €1 billion portfolio of bad loans to UnipolReC SpA.

The deals with Unipol and UnipolReC will help BPER reduce its nonperforming exposure ratio from 13.7% as of June 30 to a pro forma 11.8%, according to BPER CEO Alessandro Vandelli. The bank's NPE ratio stood at 17.4% in the same period a year before. The categories of NPE and NPL are used almost interchangeably and may vary from bank to bank, but NPEs generally include a slightly broader range of debts than NPLs.

BPER's fully loaded CET1 ratio, a key measure of capital strength, was 12.33%, up 38 bps on the end of 2018.

Net interest income for the half was €546.2 million, compared to €573.5 million in the same period in 2018. Operating costs for the half fell 1% year on year, and net provisions for risks and charges were €11.7 million in the period from €37.0 million in the first half of 2018.