UPDATE 3-Austria's Erste Group to return to net profit in 2015
* CEO upbeat on medium-term prospects
* Sees operating result declining in 2015
* Surprise with fourth quarter 2014 profit (Adds comments from analyst call, news conference)
By Michael Shields
VIENNA, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Erste Group will rebound to net profit this year from a record 2014 loss after tackling trouble spots Hungary and Romania, emerging Europe's third largest lender said on Friday.
Erste, which showed progress with a surprise fourth-quarter profit, had started 2015 well and was poised to make money in all its markets in the years ahead, Chief Executive Andreas Treichl said.
"We now have a real chance that over the next two years we can operate profitably in all our markets and the two real problems that we had, Romania and Hungary, both look substantially better than they did last year," he said.
He did however reiterate that the bank would make money in Hungary only next year.
"Our outlook in general for 2015, 2016, 2017 is no bad surprises any more," he added, seeing Erste "in the best situation of all our competitors in the region." Continuación...