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BRD of Romania 2006 profit rises 19% on loans, branch additions

BRD-Groupe Societe Generale, Romania's second-biggest lender after Erste Bank's Banca Comerciala Romana SA, said profit rose 19% in 2006 on higher loans and an almost doubling of branches in the east European country.

Net income increased to 656 million lei (€193 million) from 553 million lei a year earlier, the unit of French lender Societe Generale SA said today in a Bucharest Stock Exchange filing. Loans to clients last year rose 68% from a year earlier to 18.7 billion lei as deposits grew 28%, the Bucharest-based bank known as BRD-Groupe Societe Generale said.

The bank opened 274 new branches in Romania in 2006, raising its total to 600. Demand for loans is soaring in Romania, which joined the European Union on January 1, because of lower interest rates, higher wages and a stronger currency. Romanians took out 54% more consumer loans last year than in 2005, the central bank said. BRD shares have risen 15% over the past year. (Bloomberg)