ABN Amro third-quarter profit beats view as bad loans rise less than expected

FILE PHOTO: ABN AMRO logo is seen at the headquarters in Amsterdam, Netherlands May 14, 2019. Picture taken May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch bank ABN Amro ABNd.AS beat analyst expectations on Wednesday despite a 46% drop in third-quarter net profit to 301 million euros ($356 million), as impairments on bad loans due to the coronavirus crisis rose less than expected.

Analysts in a company-compiled poll on average had predicted net profit would fall to 111 million euros in the July-September period, after a 558 million euros profit over the same period a year earlier.

Loan impairments jumped to 270 million euros from 112 million euros a year earlier, but that was significantly less than the half-billion euros hit analysts had pencilled in for the period.

“While impairments were lower than in prior quarters, we remain cautious”, Chief Executive Robert Swaak said, as he lowered his forecast for full-year write-offs to around 2.5 billion euros from 3 billion.

Net profit in the third quarter was helped by a book gain on the sale of ABN’s office building in Paris, which was partly offset by costs for the wind-down of its corporate bank activities.

The lender said in August it would end all trade and commodity financing after a series of losses, exiting the United States, Asia, Australia and Brazil, except for clearing operations.

Write-offs at ABN’s corporate bank hit 1.4 billion euros in the first half of 2020, as oil and gas sector loans soured and Asian clients got into trouble.

($1 = 0.8457 euros)

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