CaixaBank sees profits soar after market listing

22nd July 2011, Comments 0 comments

CaixaBank, formed as the retail arm of Spanish banking giant La Caixa this month, posted first-half net profits of 833 million euros ($1.2 billion) on Friday, up 11 percent from comparable figures.

On the Madrid stock market, Caixabank shares rose 4.10 percent to 4.39 euros, in a market that was up 1.89 percent on the eurozone debt deal reached in Brussels Thursday.

In just the second quarter, the bank posted profits of 533 million euros, or a rise of 57 percent

Net interest income -- the difference between interest paid out on deposits and interest earned on lending -- was 742 million euros for the second quarter, down 17 percent from the previous year. Over the six-month period, it also dropped 17 percent to 1.543 billion euros.

La Caixa, the biggest savings bank operation in Spain with more than 28,000 employees and 5,300 branches, ploughed its entire retail banking operation into CaixaBank, which was listed on the stock market on July 1.

Spain's regional savings banks are considered the weak link in the country's financial system as they struggle under the weight of loans that turned sour because of the 2008 property bubble collapse.

Under new regulations requiring more robust balance sheets, the banks must raise the proportion of core capital they hold to 8.0 percent of total assets from 6.0 percent -- or to 10 percent if they are unlisted.

But Caixabank boasts core capital of more than 11 percent.

"The new banking entity is the tenth largest bank by market capitalisation in the euro zone and was born with a core capital of 11.3 percent, shares of 273.387 billion euros, 10.5 million customers," the chairman of CaixaBank, Isidro Faine, said in a statement.

Two other regional savings banks, Bankia and Banca Civia, followed Caixabnak by making their debuts on the stock market this week.

© 2011 AFP

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