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NEWS UPDATES 15 May 2009

Malaysian bank posts 15% increase in Q1 net profit

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Malaysia's second-largest lender Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd (CIMB) reported a 14.8 percent rise in quarterly net profit, boosted by a one-off gain from merger-related charges, but said the outlook for the rest of the year was still mixed.

State-controlled CIMB, which also owns assets in Thailand and Indonesia, said January-March net profit rose to 613.9 million ringgit ($173.2 million) from 535 million ringgit a year earlier, reported Reuters.

"The group had a good start to the year, exceeding its financial targets because revenues grew strongly, margins held firm and non-performing loans remained benign," it said in a statement.

It recognised a net gain of 26 million ringgit from the sale and leaseback of its Menara Bumiputra Commerce building and non-recurring losses from its investments in Thailand and Indonesia.

The group's loan loss provisions rose by 43 percent to 272 million ringgit, driven by higher provisions in CIMB Niaga and the consolidation of CIMB Thai, said CIMB, which has a market capitalisation of about $9 billion.

CIMB said while the turnaround in regional capital markets in the second quarter has been encouraging, it is reluctant to revise its targets for the year as economic indicators are still mixed.

Before the latest results, analysts were expecting CIMB to post a net profit of 2 billion ringgit for 2009, according to Reuters Estimates, little changed from last year.

CIMB shares closed down 1.1 percent at 8.85 ringgit. The stock has outperformed the broader market index .KLSE so far this year, gaining 51 percent against the index's 15 percent rise.







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