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UPDATE 2-Russia's TCS Group net profit up as it expands non-banking business

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MOSCOW, March 11 (Reuters) - TCS Group Holding posted on Thursday a 22% increase in net profit last year, a record high as the Russian bank said the number of non-credit product customers exceeded those seeking credit for the first time.

Like Russia’s top bank Sberbank, TCS is shifting away from pure banking to offer customers a wide range of other services, from stock investments to cinema tickets.

TCS, whose key shareholder its its founder Oleg Tinkov, said its net profit was at 44.2 billion roubles ($601 million) in 2020, while revenues for the full year rose 21% to 195.8 billion roubles. Non-credit business amounted to 37% of revenues and 37% of net profit.

“For the first time in our history, the number of non-credit product customers exceeded the number of credit product customers,” Stanislav Bliznyuk, head of business development, said in a statement.

This year, TCS plans to post at least 55 billion roubles in net profit, with non-credit revenues expanding to over 40% of total revenues and net loan portfolio growing by more than 30%.

The group, which runs Russia’s largest online bank Tinkoff, said the board had approved a first 2021 interim gross cash dividend of $0.24 per share, but that it planned to suspend payments for the rest of 2021 to assess growth opportunities.

The group is targeting small and mid-sized players to help TCS expand businesses in and around payment services, executives told a conference call on Thursday.

“Our plans and our destiny did not change. We are a standalone player and do not sell ourselves,” Chief Executive Oliver Hughes said, adding the group would not need additional capital for purchases.

TCS, whose global depositary receipts were down 0.8% in Moscow, said it planned to provide the market with more clarity on the growth opportunities at its strategy day on April 7.

TCS, which plans to expand its clients base to more than 20 million over three years from over 13 million now, said this year that it planned to go it alone after merger talks with internet giant Yandex collapsed.

Additional reporting by Anton Kolodyaznhyy, Alexander Marrow and Tatiana Voronova; Editing by Edmund Blair

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