CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Lebanon's Audi Bank says 2012 net profit rose 5 percent

Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:21am EST

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(Changes customer deposits growth in last paragraph to $2 billion from $7.4 billion, which is for the banking sector)

BEIRUT Jan 21 (Reuters) - Lebanese lender Audi Bank said its net profit rose 5 percent in 2012 as it strengthened its position in its home market and in Egypt and Turkey.

Net profit for the year rose to $384 million in the face of difficult economic conditions in the region, and consolidated assets rose 8.9 percent on the year to $31.3 billion at end-December, Lebanon's biggest lender by assets said in a statement on Monday.

Audi Bank said the earnings increase was mainly due to consolidating its position in its domestic market, asset growth in Egypt and the launch of its Turkish subsidiary, which fully offset the contraction in activity in war-torn Syria.

The "development strategy in Turkey will revolve around the establishment of a network of close to 100 branches and build an asset and a profit base that would allow the Turkish subsidiary to rank second to Lebanon within the Group," it said.

Lebanese banks have been hit by a slowdown in domestic economic growth, turmoil in neighbouring Syria and broader uncertainty in the Middle East after uprisings swept the region.

Audi Bank said the growth of its customer deposits grew by 8.1 percent in 2012, the equivalent of $2 billion, moving from $24.8 billion at end-December 2011 to $26.8 billion at end-December 2012. (Reporting by Oliver Holmes)

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