7 Feb 2023 13:32

VTB to swing to profit this year, result should be 'comparable' to record results of 2021 - Kostin

MOSCOW. Feb 7 (Interfax) - VTB is unlikely to reach the record profit this year that it attained in 2021, when the bank earned 320 billion rubles, though the figure should be "comparable", VTB chief Andrei Kostin said.

"You know that we set rather ambitious goals. In 2021, we had the highest results in terms of profit, with our profit totaling 320 billion rubles. We see a comparable positive result this year. It is unlikely to reach the level of 2021, though it should be comparable to this, meaning the same number of zeros," Kostin said in an interview with the Rossiya 24 TV channel.

VTB suspended publishing financial results last year. The figures for 2022 have not been disclosed, and it is known only that the year was not profitable for the bank. According to Kostin, VTB has started 2023 on a positive note.

"We have just calculated the results of the first month, and it was a profitable month. This gives us a foundation that if some cataclysms beyond our control do not occur, then we are on the way to a fairly successful and highly profitable year," Kostin said.

VTB's 2022 losses, according to Kostin, are due to sanctions against the bank. If the sanctions component is removed, then the bank has fulfilled its tasks for 2022, the head of VTB said.

"The main reason we suffered losses is that, in the period from February 24 to March 10, before decisions were made to limit the free distribution of funds in foreign currency, $26 billion had already been withdrawn from our accounts. And since we did not have the funds ourselves, we were forced to go to the market and buy them; and if you look at the weighted average price for this period or the exchange rate, it was over 101 rubles per dollar. And it is the difference between today's 70 rubles and 100 that gives us the main loss today. But we consider it justified, because this way the stability of the banking sector was ensured, panic was avoided, and in general, it seems to me that it was important at the time to restore the situation, to freeze it," Kostin said.

"We also had an agreement with the Central Bank which was supposed to help us provide dollar liquidity, but, unfortunately, our Central Bank itself fell under sanctions, which was totally force majeure. Therefore, we could not protect ourselves from it either" he said.