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Banco Macro posts 78% jump in Q4 profit

Banco Macro SA recorded a 78% jump in its profit for the fourth quarter of 2017, marked by gains in the bank's main income channels.

The Argentine bank showed net income of 3.01 billion pesos, or 4.50 pesos per share, for the quarter, up from 1.70 billion pesos, or 2.90 pesos per share, earned a year earlier.

Net financial income shot 45% higher year over year to 7.04 billion pesos. Net interest income grew to 7.61 billion pesos from 4.83 billion pesos in the year-ago period, while net fee income grew to 1.96 billion pesos from 1.53 billion pesos.

The bank's net interest margin ticked to 18.7% in the quarter from 17.7% a year earlier.

The bank posted higher provisions for loan losses in the quarter, rising to 422.3 million pesos from 354.0 million pesos in the year-ago period. Administrative expenses also rose, hitting 3.66 billion pesos compared to 2.81 billion pesos a year earlier, which the bank attributed to increased personnel expenses and other operating expenses.

Banco Macro's total financing to the private sector advanced 49% year over year to 127.54 billion pesos, mainly driven by growth in commercial loans as well as in mortgages and pledges loans. The bank's nonperforming loan ratio for the quarter was 1.07% compared to 1.14% a year ago.

Annualized return on average assets was 5.7% in the quarter compared to 4.6% a year earlier. Annualized return on average equity was 28.4% compared to 31.2% in the year-ago period.

As of Feb. 16, US$1 was equivalent to 19.67 Argentine pesos.