Bangkok Bank Q1 net profit falls 0.5 pct; beats estimates

BANGKOK, April 18 Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:25am EDT

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BANGKOK, April 18 (Reuters) - Bangkok Bank PCL on Friday reported a 0.5 percent fall in quarterly profit as political unrest and a slowing economy damped loan demand at Thailand's largest lender by assets.

Net profit reached 8.97 billion baht ($279 million) in January-March, the bank said in a statement, compared with a mean 8.6 billion baht forecast by 10 analysts polled by Reuters.

Compared with the previous quarter, net profit rose 16.6 percent.

The lender targets loan growth of 5 percent to 6 percent this year, though the earnings outlook is weak given a sluggish economy and political unrest, the bank said.

Shares of Bangkok Bank, valued at $11.5 billion, have fallen 17 percent over the past 12 months, making it the second-worst performer among Thai banks. The sector index has fallen 8 percent.

($1 = 32.1750 Thai Baht) (Reporting by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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