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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Russia's Gazprombank reports 2008 loss

April 29, 2009 - (Reuters by Oksana Kobzeva) - MOSCOW, Gazprombank, the banking arm of Russian state energy company Gazprom (GAZP.MM), reported a net loss of 60.1 billion roubles ($1.8 billion) for 2008, the first major Russian bank to report a loss last year. The bank, which reported a 33.6 billion rouble profit in 2007, said the loss, calculated under International Financial Reporting Standards, occurred due to currency transactions and a revaluation of its securities portfolio after the rouble weakened and markets fell in the second half of 2008. Gazprombank's main rivals, state-owned Sberbank (SBER03.MM) and VTB (VTBR.MM), which are publicly traded, beat forecasts with 2008 profits earlier this month. Gazprombank said that as a result of hedging it expected a profit of 16 billion roubles from foreign currency transactions in the first quarter of 2009. The bank said the profit from lending and commissions rose 11 percent in 2008. Amid Russia's worst economic downturn in a decade, Russian banks' loan portfolios are rapidly deteriorating, threatening to wipe out their profits in 2009.

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