Brazil's Unibanco reports profit growth

15 February 2007

Uniao de Bancos Brasileiros (Unibanco) has reported that profits increased by 13 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2006.

During the last three months of the year, net income for the company grew by 20.2 per cent to 576 million reais ($275.7 million), up from 509 million reais a year earlier.

Operating income rose by 10.5 per cent to 3,521 million reais during 2006, with an annualized return on equity of 25.8 per cent for the fourth quarter of the year.

One of Brazil's largest non-state banks, Unibanco attributes the sharp rise in fourth quarter profits to "higher revenue generation and expense rationalization", which boosted operational efficiency. A sharp rise in loans and an increased use of credit cards in Brazil are driving the country's financial services economy.

In a statement, the bank said: "Unibanco remains satisfied and confident with the ongoing results and the continuous improvement of its performance."

Unibanco's fourth quarter results fell short of analysts' expectations, but the company's shares rallied in afternoon trading following the earnings statement.

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