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BBVA's LatAm ops post rise in Q1 profits despite regional slowdown

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BBVA's LatAm ops post rise in Q1 profits despite regional slowdown

Spain'sBanco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SAposted first-quarter 2016 net attributable profit from its South American operationsof €182 million, up 8.7% from a year earlier at constant exchange rates.

Net interestincome from the region totaled €717 million, up 17.0% year over year at constantexchange rates, while net trading income jumped 49.9% to €160 million.

BBVAnoted that its South American units booked a 0.8% increase in gross lending in thefirst quarter compared to December 2015, mainly due to the private individual segmentwith "significant growth" in Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay.

However,the bank's NPL ratio reached 2.6% as of the end of March, up 25 basis points fromDecember 2015, as a result of the region's "moderate economic cycle."

By country,Argentina contributed €66 million in net profit, while Colombia contributed €53million, Peru contributed €37 million and Chile contributed €28 million.

Overall,the bank said South America showed "very good recurring revenue" in thequarter thanks mainly to strong lending activity and higher income from fees andcommissions, BBVA said.

The company'soperations in the region include BBVABanco Continental SA in Peru; BancoBilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Chile SA, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Colombia SA and in Argentina;and Banco Provincial SA Banco Universalin Venezuela.

For itsMexico operations, which include GrupoFinanciero BBVA Bancomer SA de CV, the bank posted a net attributableprofit of €489 million in the first quarter, up 10.1% from a year earlier at a constantexchange rate.

Net interestincome from Mexico rose 13.9% year over year to €1.29 billion in the first quarter,while operating income climbed 12.7% to €1.06 billion.

The companynoted that its operations in Mexico again recorded double-digit growth in lendingwith 12.4% growth year-over-year in its loan book.

BBVAsaid the positive performance of its Mexican operations is explained by "increasedactivity and maintenance of spreads," as well as the good performance of incomefrom fees and commissions.