BBVA earnings boosted by capital gains from asset sales

Net income climbs 73 percent in first quarter

BBVA, Spain’s second-biggest lender, said Friday its net profit in the first quarter of the year rose 72.6 percent from the same period a year earlier to 1.734 billion euros, boosted by capital gains from the sale of non-strategic assets.

BBVA sold its Mexican pensions business and a portfolio of life insurance policies in Spain.

The bank’s net interest income rose 0.8 percent to 3.623 billion euros. The figure was slightly below forecasts as interest rates remained low and because of the devaluation of the bolivar in Venezuela.

The bank’s non-performing loan ratio at the end of March stood at 5.3 percent, up from 4.0 percent a year earlier. Loans were up 4.0 percent at 372.630 billion euros, while deposits increased 9.4 percent to 304.574 billion.

The net attributable profit of the bank’s Spanish division climbed 53.9 percent to 569 million euros as lending increased 3.6 percent. BBVA’s Mexican business saw its net attributable profit decline 0.7 percent to 435 million euros despite a rise in lending of 7.1 percent.

The bank said its South America business continued to boom as lending rose 15.3 percent and customer funds by 23.9 percent. Net attributable profit came to 348 million euros, down 1.3 percent from a year earlier. Earnings of its US division declined 12.3 percent to 95 million euros as interest rates remained low.

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