Patagonia Q4 earnings skyrocket 162%

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, February 19, 2009
Argentina's Banco Patagonia booked a 108mn-peso (US$30.5mn) profit in last year's fourth quarter, up 162% on 4Q07, the bank said in a statement. Results in the quarter were fueled by stronger revenues due to higher interest rates, a weaker peso, increased fee income and changes in the criteria to valuate government bonds, the bank said. Net interest income soared 107% to 234mn pesos in 4Q08, with fee income rising 24.2% to 82.6mn pesos. Administrative expenses were up 17.7% to 150mn pesos. The quarterly results came way above expectations. Local brokerage Allaria Ledesma was expecting Patagonia to post a 64mn-peso profit in the quarter as it had reported earnings of 48mn pesos in October-November. Patagonia's net profits for the full year doubled to 267mn pesos, for an 18.5% ROE. Loans to the private sector were up 16% as of end-December to 3.51bn pesos fueled by consumer loans and credit cards, with the non-performing loan ratio slightly worsening to 2.2% from 2.1% a year ago. The bank reduced its exposure to the public sector by 39% last year, with government-backed securities representing 371mn pesos or 4.2% of total assets as of December 31. Private sector deposits grew 11.7% last year to 5.25bn pesos, Patagonia said. The bank is undergoing a share buyback plan that calls for spending up to 95.5mn pesos to buy back up to 50mn of its own shares. As of December 31, the bank had bought 16.5mn shares worth 21.3mn pesos, or 2.2% of its common equity. The offer will run until February 27. Banco Patagonia is the fifth largest Argentine private sector bank and had 8.939bn pesos in assets and 1.556bn pesos in equity as of December 31.

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