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Handelsbanken posts profits after growth in UK

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Handelsbanken posts profits after growth in UK
Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT
15:41 CET+01:00
Swedish bank Handelsbanken announced growing profits on Wednesday for 2013, thanks largely to an expansion into the UK and the Netherlands.
 Net profit increased by two percent to 14.3 billion kronor ($2.19 billion), while revenue grew by 3.6 percent to 36.3 billion kronor.    
 
The bank reported increased activity in all segments including a 17 percent rise in income from interest outside Sweden and a 21 percent rise in financial transactions.
   
Handelsbanken, Sweden's largest bank in terms of deposits, maintained a stable network in the Nordic countries in 2013, but expanded in Britain (to 161 branches, up from 133 in 2012) and the Netherlands (18 branches compared to 13 a year earlier).
   
The bank's loan loss ratio decreased to 0.07 percent from 0.08 percent in 2012.
   
"Credit quality continued to be stable," the bank said in a statement.    
 
Handelsbanken's liquidity reserves increased to more than 800 billion kronor.
   
Nonetheless, in the fourth quarter, net profit dropped by 2.2 percent to 3.53 billion kronor due to lower earnings in financial markets, an increase in loan losses and an unfavourable comparison with a year earlier, when the bank posted an exceptional gain following a government decision to lower corporate taxes.
   
Quarterly net profit came close to the 3.43 billion kronor expected by analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
   
Revenue for the quarter saw a three-percent increase to 9.28 billion kronor. 
   
Handelsbanken employed 11,500 people at the end of 2013, three percent more than a year earlier, due to the expansion in Britain and the Netherlands. 
 
 
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