September 26, 2012 / 12:06 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-State Bank of Mauritius year pretax profit up 31 pct

(Adds earnings forecast, quote)

By Jean Paul Arouff

PORT LOUIS, Sept 26 (Reuters) - State Bank of Mauritius , the island's second-largest bank, on Wednesday posted a 30.5 percent rise in full-year pretax profit and said it expected earnings to grow by 15 percent next year due to income from offshore clients.

The bank, which has a market share of about 25 percent, said pretax profit for the period rose to 3.230 billion rupees ($106 million) for the year ended June 30, compared with 2.474 billion a year earlier, driven by higher net interest income.

Indian Ocean island Mauritius launched its offshore sector in 1989 and introduced generous tax breaks, pitching itself as a financial platform bridging Africa, the Indian sub-continent and Asia.

State Bank of Mauritius chairman Muni Krishna Reddy said offshore business contributed about 20 percent of earnings this year which he hoped would grow to 50 percent as the bank diversifies away from a highly competitive domestic market. There are about 20 banks in the country which focus mostly on retail banking.

"We are expecting earnings to grow by at least 15 percent next year driven by fee-based income from offshore business," Reddy told reporters.

The bank said earlier in a statement that assets growth had been mainly driven by growth in lending to clients of 9.7 percent, to 62.3 billion rupees "on the back of market share gains in the Mauritian rupee coupled with the planned downsizing of cross-border lending from Mauritius in other currencies".

Earnings per share rose to 10.14 rupees from 7.80 rupees. Net interest income climbed to 3.198 billion rupees from 2.498 billion in 2011.

The bank's shares last traded up 1.22 percent at 83 rupees.

$1 = 30.4500 Mauritius rupees Reporting by Jean Paul Arouff; Editing by Yara Bayoumy and Pravin Char

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