UOB Q1 net profit rises 9.2 pct; beats estimates

SINGAPORE, April 30 Wed Apr 30, 2014 5:15am EDT

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SINGAPORE, April 30 (Reuters) - United Overseas Bank Ltd , the smallest of Singapore's three banks by assets, beat analyst estimates by posting a 9.2 percent rise in first-quarter net profit, as strong loan growth boosted core interest income.

UOB, in a statement on Wednesday, said net profit for January-March reached S$788 million ($627.64 million) from S$722 million in the same period a year earlier.

The result compared with the S$740 million mean estimate of six analysts polled by Reuters.

"Our robust balance sheet and disciplined approach to growth position us well to drive long-term sustainable value for shareholders as we seize regional wholesale and wealth management opportunities," said Chief Executive Wee Ee Cheong in the statement.

Peers DBS Group Holdings and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp earlier reported record first-quarter profit that topped estimates, powered by double-digit loan growth and improved margins. ($1 = 1.2555 Singapore Dollars) (Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Christopher Cushing)