Russia's Sberbank says revenue from non-banking services grew almost 300% in Q1

MOSCOW, April 29 (Reuters) - Revenue from Sberbank’s loss-making ecosystem of non-banking services increased 295% year on year in the first quarter, it said on Thursday, a boost for Russia’s largest lender as it strives to diversify from its core business.

Chief Executive German Gref last month said Sberbank had no choice but to develop non-banking businesses as shrinking margins threaten the very survival of traditional lenders.

First-quarter revenue in Sberbank’s non-financial business rose to 33.6 billion roubles ($452.25 million) from 8.5 billion roubles in the same period last year, the bank said in results published on Thursday.

The segment, which includes food delivery and entertainment, made up just a fraction of the bank’s 877.5 billion roubles in total quarterly revenue, but the rapid growth is a promising sign.

Sberbank is aiming for non-core businesses, which range from cyber security to online cinema, to account for 60% of revenue by 2030.

On Thursday it said it expects revenue from non-financial businesses to exceed 200 billion roubles this year.

The major non-banking divisions were all loss-making. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) stood at minus 4.3 billion roubles for e-commerce, minus 2.4 billion roubles for FoodTech & Mobility and minus 1.6 billion roubles for entertainment.

The bank values its ecosystem assets at 201.2 billion roubles.

Sberbank said the loss from its joint venture with internet company rose to 7.1 billion roubles from 4.5 billion roubles. on Thursday reported results of its own, with a jump in its gaming business boosting revenues.

$1 = 74.2960 roubles Reporting by Tatiana Voronova; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Kirsten Donovan