BBVA reports rise in 2010 net profit on Latin America

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BBVA, Spain's second-biggest bank, reported on Wednesday a 9.4 percent rise in 2010 net profit as solid results from Latin America offset continued weakness in its domestic market.

The bank posted a net profit of 4.61 billion euros (6.33 billion dollars) for the year compared to 4.21 billion euros in 2009.

"The group achieved this result supported by its adequate geographic diversification," BBVA said in a statement.

Like other Spanish banks, BBVA is struggling with an economic downturn in Spain, brought about by a collapse of the country's once booming property market which has led them to increase provisioning against bad loans.

The bank's net profits in Spain and Portugal fell by 9.0 percent to 2.07 billion euros but this was offset by a 11.9 percent jump in net profit in Mexico to 1.71 billion euros.

In South America the bank recorded a net profit of 889 million euros, a 16.5 percent increase over 2009.

Analysts at Caja Madrid Bolsa estimate that this year between 60 and 65 percent of BBVA's profit and loan account will be generated outside of Spain.

In a clear bid to further diversify away from its troubled home market, BBVA in November announced it would buy a 24.9 percent stake in Turkeye Garanti Bankasi, one of Turkey's biggest banks.

Non-performing loans as a percentage of the total fell to 4.1 percent at the end of 2010, down from 4.3 percent at the end of 2009.

During the final quarter of 2010, BBVA posted a net profit of 939 million euros compared to 31 million euros during the same period the previous year when its results were hurt by hefty write-downs.

Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a fourth quarter net profit of 934 million euros.

© 2011 AFP

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