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Russia's VTB to make record profit in 2023 but dividends unlikely -CEO to RBC

St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF)

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's state-owned VTB bank will make a record profit this year, even though dividends are unlikely, the lender's CEO Andrei Kostin told Russian newspaper RBC in an interview published on Monday.

RBC quoted Kostin as saying: "Our profit forecasts this year are good, the year is going well. Our target for net profit is 400 billion roubles ($4.13 billion), but I think we will eventually exceed this level and earn record profits."

Regardless of this year's profits, Kostin warned that VTB, which suffered a record loss of 612.6 billion roubles in 2022 after Western countries imposed sanctions over Russia's military campaign in Ukraine, would not pay dividends this year.

"Last year’s losses weakened the capital base. On the urgent recommendation of the central bank, we have suspended ... dividends," the newspaper quotes Kostin as saying.

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Kostin also said that VTB will audit Russia's United Shipbuilding Corporation, a state-owned company that the Kremlin transferred to VTB management in August, and that VTB was working to buy up rupees in the accounts of Russian exporters in India.

($1 = 96.7500 roubles)

(Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; Writing by Felix Light; Editing by Christina Fincher)