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Exclusive-VTB profit seen at record of 400 billion roubles in 2023 – CEO Kostin

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MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian state-owned lender VTB will see profit of “not less” than 400 billion roubles ($4.9 billion) in 2023 after a bumper first five months of the year and a record loss last year, CEO Andrei Kostin told Reuters in an interview.

Profit in the first five months of this year totalled 239 billion roubles, after a loss of 612.6 billion roubles for 2022, Kostin said.

“We consider a profit forecast of about 400 billion rubles for this year to be realistic – a record figure for us,” Kostin said.

CFO Dmitry Pyanov this week said VTB’s 2023 profits would be towards the upper end of its target range of 327-400 billion roubles.

The record loss of 2022, he said, was largely caused by a fall in the rouble to 100 per U.S. dollar soon after the West imposed sanctions and the write off of its assets frozen in the West.

“It was a difficult year for us, but in the second half we started working in profit, and now we have a very successful year so far,” Kostin said.

Kostin said it was unlikely VTB would return to paying dividends for this year though it depended on the state which has a 61.8% stake in the bank after it raised 94 billion roubles in a secondary public offering from private, undisclosed investors.

Russia’s dominant lender Sberbank is paying a record 565 billion roubles in dividends for 2022, half of which is destined for the Russian state.

($1 = 82.0000 roubles)

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Elena Fabrichnaya)

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