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* CZ: Staff in car industry up at 124,000
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International Property News



Komercni 2007 Net Profit Up 21%, Beats Forecast


22nd February 2008

Komercni Banka, the only listed Czech bank, beat forecasts on Friday with a 21.4 percent rise in 2007 net profit, helped by rising demand for loans in the fast-growing country.

Earnings attributable to the bank's equity holders reached 11.19 billion crowns ($658.8 million), above the average forecast of 10.8 billion in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Komercni, 60.35 percent-owned by France's Societe Generale, said the profit growth came thanks to a dynamic expansion of the Czech economy, which rose by a record 6.6 percent last year.

"The earnings momentum was influenced in large measure by the acquisition of (building society) Modra Pyramida in October 2006, as well as by the successful growing of client base and business volumes," the bank said in a statement.

Komercni board also decided to propose a dividend payment of 6.84 million crowns, or 180 crowns per share, representing a payout ratio of 61 percent. The bank paid a dividend of 150 crowns from 2006 profits.

Net interest income rose to 18.67 billion crowns from 16.27 billion a year before, slightly surpassing the 18.6 billion average forecast, while full-year revenue was up 12.3 percent to 29.67 billion, also ahead of the 29.4 billion estimate.

Shares in Komercni rose 0.54 percent to 3,910 crowns by 0924 GMT, outperforming a 0.78 percent drop in the Prague stock exchange's blue-chip PX index .
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