BBVA unfazed by crisis as it sticks to profit forecasts

25th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

Bank increases dividend as 2007 earnings climb 29 percent.

25 January 2008

MADRID - Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, Spain's second-largest bank, on Thursday proposed to increase its dividend on 2007 earnings, which were in line with expectations and showed no fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States.

BBVA said it planned to pay a total dividend of EUR 0.733 per share, up 15 percent on 2006. The bank booked a net profit last year of EUR 6.126 billion, an increase of 29 percent.

At a presentation of the results, Chairman Francisco González said the bank was sticking by its forecasts for this year despite the turmoil in the financial markets. In November of last year, BBVA said it was targeting an annual increase in the earnings of its main units of 15 percent through to 2008. The bank also pledged a similar increase in its dividend.

"Nothing has changed in this house," González said. "We maintain our dividend policy and are sticking to our forecast."

The Spanish bank bought US lender Compass Bancshares last year for USD 9 billion. It is also exposed to the United States through three banks it owns in Texas.

Chief Executive Officer José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, said BBVA's US business was better prepared to weather the financial crisis unleashed by the meltdown in the subprime mortgage market than the average of the strongest US banks.

Goirigolzarri highlighted the quality of Compass' loan portfolio. The US bank contributed EUR 99 million to earnings.

BBVA's business in Mexico, where its unit Bancomer is a leading lender, and the United States increased combined earnings by 28.4 percent to USD 2.084.

[Copyright EL PAÍS / Adrián Soto 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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