Morocco's BMCE Bank profits rise, raises bad debt provisions

RABAT, March 24 Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:36am EDT

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RABAT, March 24 (Reuters) - Morocco's BMCE Bank said on Monday its 2013 consolidated net profit rose 33 pct to 1.23 billion Moroccan dirhams ($151.05 million), although it set aside more provisions for bad debts.

The bank, along with others Morocco, is facing rising bad loans in its home market, its main source of income, because of an economic slowdown and rising risks in sub-Saharan Africa, which makes up 41 percent of earnings.

BMCE said it had added 503 million dirhams to provisions in 2013 to meet total risk costs estimated at 1.3 billion dirhams, up 17 pct from 2012.

Net banking income rose 10 pct to 9.89 billion dirhams as deposits increased by 3 pct to 149 billion, while loans grew 8 pct. Operating profit was 10 pct up to 3.93 billion dirhams from 3.58 billion in 2012.

The bank last year became the first private financial institution from North Africa to issue bonds in the international capital markets. It plans to use $300 million raised in a bond sale to accelerate expansion across Africa.

The bank's shares opened up 1.83 pct at 214 dirhams on the Casablanca stock exchange after the results.

BMCE is preparing to launch Islamic subsidiary as the Moroccan parliament discusses a bill regulating Islamic banks and sukuk issues, banking sources told Reuters last week. ($1 = 8.1429 Moroccan Dirhams) (Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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