January 26, 2017 / 8:31 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Bankinter beats forecasts with 30 percent profit increase

* Posts 2016 net profit of 490 mlns euros

* Q4 net profit of 90 mlns euros, up 17 pct vs Q4 2015

* Shares open up 3 percent (Adds details)

By Jesús Aguado and Angus Berwick

MADRID, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Bankinter on Thursday reported a 30 percent rise in full-year 2016 net profit from a year earlier due to its strong private banking and insurance businesses and the integration of Barclays’ Portuguese retail business.

The sixth largest Spanish bank by market value, which has 67 billion euros in assets, recorded profit for 2016 of 490 million euros ($526.26 million), beating the average of analysts’ estimates calculated by Thomson Reuters of 456 million euros.

Bankinter’s fourth-quarter net profit came in at 90 million euros, up 17.6 percent against the same quarter last year.

Its shares opened up 3 percent taking them to the top of Spain’s blue-chip Ibex index. Shares in Spanish banks have been boosted this week by Banco Santander’s strong results on Wednesday.

Unlike most other Spanish banks, Bankinter, along with Santander, was not hit by a European court ruling that may force banks in Spain to reimburse mortgage customers up to 4 billion euros.

As a result of Bankinter’s greater focus on wealthy clients and insurance, its bad loan ratio fell to 4.01 percent from 4.19 percent in September, well below a sector average of 9.2 percent in November.

Bankinter’s more cautious approach to property lending has set it apart from its Spanish rivals, which ended up laden with toxic real estate assets after Spain’s 2008 property crash, making it one of the country’s most profitable banks.

In 2016, Bankinter’s net interest income, a measure of earnings from loans minus deposit costs, increased 12.6 percent to 979 million euros, above analysts’ forecasts of 949 million euros.

Quarter-on-quarter net interest income was up 6.8 percent, as the bank continued to benefit from low funding costs against a backdrop of record low interest rates. ($1 = 0.9311 euros) (Editing by Jane Merriman)

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