Spain's Popular returned 2.5 bln eur of LTRO loans in Q1

MADRID, April 30 Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:48am EDT

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MADRID, April 30 (Reuters) - Spanish bank Popular on Tuesday said it had returned 2.5 billion euros ($3.27 billion) of the European Central Bank's LTRO (long term refinancing operation) cheap loans in the first quarter of the year.

In a presentation, the lender said it had on its books LTRO loans worth 14.7 billion euros at the end of March, compared to a total of 17.2 billion euros at the end of December.

Popular returned to profit in the first quarter after a record loss in 2012, as assets sales offset weak business in its home market. ($1 = 0.7634 euros) (Reporting by Toms Cobos, writing by Julien Toyer, editing by Tracy Rucinski)