UPDATE 1-Dexia sees 2014 loss halving as funding costs fall
* 2013 net loss 1.08 bln euros
* CEO sees 2014 net loss of around 440 mln euros
* Gain from business shrinking, lower cost of state guarantees (Updates with 2014 forecast)
BRUSSELS, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Nationalised Franco-Belgian financial group Dexia could halve its net loss this year because of a sharp decline in funding costs already felt towards the end of 2013.
The bank, 94 percent owned by the French and Belgian governments, reined in its net loss to 1.08 billion euros ($1.49 billion) in 2013 from 2.9 billion euros in 2012.
Chief Executive Karel De Boeck said the figure for 2014 could be around 440 million euros, although that could change if it sold Italian public lender Crediop, one of its last remaining businesses. A sale could lead to a one-off loss.
Crediop, weighing about 35 billion euros on Dexia's balance sheet, had been thought of as unsellable and its divestment is not a European Commission requirement, but De Boeck said Dexia was in talks with possible interested parties.
"The chance of deal is less than with the other divestments, but even if it's just 10 percent it's worth a try," De Boeck said.
Dexia suffered a relatively mild 95 million euros net loss in the fourth quarter as it set aside money to cover its Puerto Rico exposure, but saw a sharp decline in the cost of funding. Continuación...