UPDATE 1-Millennium bcp bank's Jan-Sept profit soars on higher rates, cost controls

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By Sergio Goncalves

- Portugal's largest listed bank, Millennium bcp BCP.LS, posted on Monday a nine-month net profit more than seven times higher than a year ago, thanks to rising European interest rates and cost controls, despite high provisions at its Polish unit.

It reported a consolidated net profit of 650.7 million euros ($690 million) between January and September, up from 89.8 million euros a year earlier, with the profit of its domestic business up 93% at 556.8 million euros.

Chief Executive Miguel Maya told a press conference "most of the strategic goals were exceeded" after years of efforts to improve the balance sheet.

The bank's CET1 capital ratio rose 357 basis points to 14.9%, far above the minimum ratio of 9.41%.

Maya also noted strong performance of the bank's operation in Poland, delivering positive results over four successive quarters despite very high provisions.

Millennium bcp said its 50%-owned Polish subsidiary, Bank Millennium MILP.WA, had net income of 100.7 million euros in January-September after a loss of 276 million euros a year ago, despite 482.5 million euros in provisions to legal risks over its portfolio of Swiss franc mortgage loans.

Maya said accumulated provisions worth 1.5 billion euros already covered 70% of that portfolio.

Millenium bcp's consolidated net interest income (NII), or earnings on loans minus deposit costs, rose 37% to 2.1 billion euros in the nine months, helped by interest rate hikes by the European Central Bank and the Polish central bank.

Maya said the NII "will have reached its highest level in the third quarter" since in Poland rates were already on a downward trend.

The bank's core income, including NII and fees, rose 27.2% to around 2.7 billion euros.

Its cost-to-income ratio dropped to 32% from 38% a year ago and the bank reduced total non-performing exposures by 16% to 2.03 billion euros.

($1 = 4.2250 zlotys)

($1 = 0.9431 euros)

(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; editing by Andrei Khalip and Tomasz Janowski)

((sergio.goncalves@thomsonreuters.com; +351213509204; Reuters Messaging: sergio.goncalves.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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