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MONETA expects to exceed 2022 profit forecast after solid quarter

PRAGUE (Reuters) - MONETA Money Bank said on Thursday it expects to exceed its 2022 profit forecast after reporting solid third-quarter results, adding that a Czech government decision to cap household energy prices should ease pressure on loans.

While a sharp rise in interest rates over a year-long tightening cycle by the Czech National Bank boosted the country's banks, this ended in June and soaring energy costs are likely to push the country towards recession, hitting borrowers. At the same time, the government is pursuing a windfall tax on banks, energy firms and other sectors to help control a swelling state deficit.

As the windfall tax is not likely to hit 2022 profits, MONETA said that it was on track to meet and even surpass its guidance for this year's net profit of at least 4.4 billion crowns ($180.5 million).

"We believe, with respect to profitability, we have an upside of at least 10% this year," chief executive Tomas Spurny told reporters after the bank released its results.

Some analysts were sceptical.

"The outlook for this year and the coming years is not relevant anymore in our view, and we would expect an update based on the current developments," said J&T Banka.

MONETA's estimate-beating quarterly profit of 1.25 billion crowns brought it to 94% of its full-year guidance after the first nine months of the year.

MONETA's target for total net profit of at least 18.7billion crowns between 2022-2025 will be weighed up by the extra tax being considered by the Czech government, Spurny said, adding that it was difficult to make any exact estimate before a final decision on it is approved.

On the other hand, the government's cap on energy prices for households should alleviate the pressure on MONETA's loan portfolio, Spurny said.

($1 = 24.3770 Czech crowns)

(Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Alexander Smith)