May 8, 2020 / 12:44 PM / 21 days ago

UBI's Q1 profit tops forecasts helped by trading gains

MILANO, May 8 (Reuters) - UBI Banca on Friday posted a surprise 12% rise in first-quarter net profit as rising revenues helped Italy’s fifth-largest bank offset higher provisions against loan losses related to the COVID-19 crisis.

UBI Banca’s net profit came in at 93.6 million euros, above the same period of last year, which was impacted by restructuring costs, and an average analyst forecast of 56 million euros in a consensus distributed by the bank.

UBI, the healthiest among Italy’s second-tier banks, has become the target of an unsolicited, all-paper takeover bid that rival Intesa Sanpaolo announced in February just before virus contagion began to spread.

UBI put aside 155.6 billion euros against loan losses in the first quarter, a fifth more than a year ago, after writing down loans which are not yet in default for 50 million euros due to COVID-19.

Revenues fell 0.8% year-on-year to 914 million euros, above a consensus forecast of 848 million euros, driven by trading gains and commissions. Net interest income fell 9%.

The bank’s fully-loaded CET1 ratio, measuring its best-quality capital, rose to 12.86% in March from 12.29% in December. (Reporting by Andrea Mandalà; editing by Valentina Za)

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