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Lower impairments buoy Banco Popular's Q1 result

Banco PopularEspañol SA's first-quarter profit ticked up year over year asimpairments on financial assets fell 23%.

The bank said first-quarter profit attributed to thecontrolling company reached €93.8 million, up from €91.4 million in the sameperiod in 2015. Banco Popular booked €202.9 million of financialasset impairment and provisioning in the first quarter, down from €263.5million a year earlier. Impairment of other assets declined on a yearly basisto €89.4 million from €98.8 million, while net losses on asset sales narrowedto €111,000 in the period from €21.2 million.

Net interest income declined year over year to €551.5million from €562.2 million. Net fees and commissions fell to €141.1 million inthe period from €146.5 million a year earlier, while net gains on financialassets and liabilities came in at €98.9 million, compared to the year-ago€187.8 million.

At the end of March, the bank's common equity Tier 1 ratiowas 12.81% on a phased-in basis, compared to 13.11% at the end of 2015. The bank's proforma fully loaded CET1 ratio was 11.1%, compared to 10.86% at the end of 2015.

The pro forma fully loaded leverage ratio was 5.97% atMarch-end, down from 6.07% at 2015-end, while the liquidity coverage ratiostood at 176.9%.