Moroccan bank BCP makes provision for bad loans

RABAT Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:45am EST

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RABAT Feb 18 (Reuters) - Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP) , one of Morocco's three biggest lenders, reported a 4 percent rise in annual net profit that was capped by a large provision against domestic bad loans and investments in Africa.

BCP said on Tuesday that net profit rose to 2 billion dirhams ($244.39 million) in 2013 but the results were held back by a 1 billion dirham provision for general risks, without elaborating.

The bank is facing rising bad loans in its home market as the economy slows and, like other Moroccan lenders, has been investing in sub-Saharan African countries seen by investors has high risk.

BCP, in which the government holds direct and indirect stakes totaling 11 percent, said non-performing loans at the end of December rose 18 percent to 11.9 billion dirhams from a year earlier.

"BCP has one of the best credit to deposit ratios among Moroccan lenders, but bad debts are still cutting its performances" an analyst, who declined to be named, said.

"We don't expect bad loans to decrease in 2014 as it is linked to the whole Moroccan economy which is suffering from the weakness of the non-agricultural sector" he said.

The bank said net banking income rose 14.6 pct to 9.1 billion dirhams, thanks to its sub-Saharan subsidiary Groupe Banque Atlantique where bad debts dropped by 29 pct.

Deposits increased 4 percent to 210 billion dirhams which represented a 28 percent market share, including 76.7 billion dirhams of remittances collected from Moroccans living abroad, the bank said.

Loans to individuals rose 6.2 pct to 53.4 billion dirhams, while loans to corporate rose by 11 pct to 40 billion dirhams.

Last November, Standard & Poors lowered its rating on BCP to 'BB+/B' with a stable outlook, citing the cash-strapped government's weaker capacity to support BCP if required.

($1 = 8.1837 Moroccan dirhams) (Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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