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Spain's Sabadell first half profit takes hit on provisions

Source: Reuters - Thu 22th Jul 2010

Spain's fourth-largest bank Sabadell said first-half net profit fell by nearly a third, as expected, as it set aside capital for provisions against its property and financial assets portfolio.

Barcelona-based Sabadell, which is merging with smaller rival Guipuzcoano, reported net profit for the first six months of the year of 233.6 million euros ($298 million) on Thursday, compared with 332 million in the year-ago period.

Net-interest income fell 5.9 percent to 765.2 million euros as lower interest rates affected the profitability of its mortgage book.

A Reuters' poll of seven analysts had forecast net interest income of 747.4 million euros and net profit of 231.9 million.

Sabadell's ratio of bad loans to total loans crept higher to 4.38 percent at end-June from 4.09 percent at end-March. This was below the most recent average of bad loans at Spanish banks of 5.39 percent.

Sabadell's link-up with Guipuzcoano is the first merger between two listed banks amid a flurry of tie-ups amongst the country's 45 unlisted savings banks in a government-driven attempt to restructure the sector.

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