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National Bank of Greece says net profit up 61 percent in first half

National Bank of Greece says net profit up 61 percent in first half

National Bank of Greece said Thursday that its net profit rose 61 percent in the first half of the year, on strong loan growth and the consolidation of its recent Turkish acquisition.
For the six months to June 30, the bank, Greece's largest by assets, said net profit was euro877.7 million (US$1.19 billion), compared with euro546.2 million (US$743.4 million) in the same period a year earlier.
Net profit was also boosted by the sale of a minority stake in AGET Heracles Cement to majority shareholder Lafarge Group.
Net interest income rose by 63 percent to euro1.44 billion (US$1.96 billion) from euro886.9 million (US$1.2 billion), while total income rose to euro2.23 billion (US$3.04 billion) from euro1.34 billion (US$1.82 billion).
NBG, like other Greek lenders, has been riding a consumer lending boom in Greece thanks to low real interest rates, a booming property market and the easing of consumer credit restrictions.
Last year, NBG completed its acquisition of a 46 percent stake in Turkey's Finansbank and has since raised its shareholding in the Turkish lender to 89.44 percent.
In April this year, it sold its minority stake in AGET Heracles Cement to majority shareholder Lafarge Group. The first-half results reflect the full consolidation of the Turkish unit as well as the asset sale.
In mid-August, Finansbank reported that non-consolidated net profit rose 48 percent on the year to 359.2 million new Turkish lira ($170.4 million) in the first half of 2007.
NBG shares closed Thursday up euro0.40 (US$0.54), or 0.9 percent, at euro43.20 (US$58.8).