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UPDATE 1-Austria's RBI to distribute up to half its profits in medium term

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March 17 (Reuters) - Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) aims to distribute about 20% to 50% of consolidated net profit in the medium term, the group said on Wednesday, as it confirmed its preliminary full-year results and announced the outlook for 2021.

RBI, which does business across central and eastern Europe, said in February it could consider an additional dividend once the European Central Bank (ECB) lifted its recommendation to limit distributions amid the coronavirus crisis.

The group’s current proposal is to distribute a dividend at 0.48 euros ($0.5715) per share.

The bank said loan growth was likely to remain modest and non-performing loans were likely to increase in the first six months of the year as moratoriums and government support programmes expired, but it said the recovery should accelerate in late 2021.

The company added it could reach its medium-term goal of a cost-to-income ratio of about 55% as soon as in 2022, depending on the speed of the recovery.

$1 = 0.8398 euros Reporting by Zuzanna Szymanska in Gdansk; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Edmund Blair

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