BBVA's first-quarter profits up 23%

25 April 2007

Spanish lender Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA) has announced a 23 per cent improvement in first-quarter profits compared with the same period last year.

Factoring in asset sales for both quarters, such as the sales of a five per cent stake in power company Iberdrola, Spain's second-largest bank recorded profits of $2.66 billion up from $1.39 billion the year before.

Growth in lending in the company's American and Mexican divisions was especially marked, with net profit improving by 11.4 per cent to $660 million - helping the company's overall loan book to grow by 19.3 per cent.

Commenting on the results, Inigo Lecbarri of Abaco Financials Fund, told Bloomberg: "BBVA's Spanish bank is very well-managed and Mexico is a fantastic business that's well-milked."

The funding accrued from BBVA's offloading of assets is thought to be earmarked to finance the company's plan to acquire Compass Bancshares as part of its strategy to expand in the U.S market.

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