- Bank of Georgia Group reported Monday profit rose 18.8% in the first quarter of the year from the same period a year ago supported by strong performance in the firm's investment and banking divisions.

In the first three months of the year, the firm said profit grew 18.8% to GEL 128.6m, up from 108m GEL the same period a year ago, while earnings per share grew 16.7% to GEL 3.08.

The banking business - accounting for the bulk of the bank's total profit - saw profit jump 19.3% year-on-year to GEL 99.2m as the loan book increased 21.3% year-on-year amid excellent franchise growth in the retail bank, resilient margins and a strong cost performance, the firm said.

The banking business cost of risk ratio in the first quarter was 2.1%, which was in line with the bank's medium-term cost of risk expectations.

The group's investment business, Georgia Capital, saw net profit grow 17.3% to GEL 29.4m, while its healthcare division posted net revenues of GEL 207m, up 11.4%, following two major hospital renovation projects.

Total assets increased to GEL 15,474.5m up 23.1% year-on-year.

The demerger of Bank of Georgia Group and Georgia Capital is expected to be completed on 29 May 2018, when both companies would become separately listed on the London Stock Exchange, the firm said.

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