Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio 1Q profit falls

Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior 1st-quarter profit declines

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior SA said Wednesday that its first-quarter net income fell 49 percent, hurt in part by fewer gains from Treasury activities.

The first quarter is typically the slowest quarter of the year.

The Panama-based bank earned $16.3 million, or 43 cents per share, for the period ended March 31. That compares with $32.2 million, or 86 cents per share, a year earlier.

The prior-year period also included $4.4 million in reversals of provisions for credit losses.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet, on average, expected earnings of 53 cents per share.

Shares declined 96 cents, or 42 percent, to $22.79 in morning trading. Over the past year, the stock has traded in a range of $18.47 to $25.39.

Net interest income declined to $26 million from $29.6 million. Net interest income combines interest on loans that the bank collects and interest on deposits and debt that the bank pays out. It is a measure of the bank's ability to profit from its lending.

The commercial unit's portfolio balance climbed 14 percent, mostly because of strong demand in the bank's client base of corporations.

The bank also said its board approved a quarterly dividend of 30 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on May 7 to shareholders of record on April 29.

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