UPDATE 1-Portugal's BCP loss smaller than expected as interest income soars

Mon May 5, 2014 1:05pm EDT

Related Topics

* Millennium bcp Q1 net loss 41 mln vs f'cast 63 mln loss

* Core overseas units contribute profit of 48 mln euros

* Net interest income rises to 236 million euros (Adds detail)

LISBON, May 5 (Reuters) - Millennium bcp, Portugal's largest listed bank by assets, posted a much smaller first-quarter loss than a year ago, and less than expected by analysts, as its net interest income soared 32 percent.

The bank's bottom line was hurt by impairments on bad loans and the high cost of state support, but the net loss of 41 million euros ($57 million) came in lower than the 63 million expected on average by analysts.

The bank's core overseas units in Poland, Angola and Mozambique made the greatest positive contributions to group results in two years, with a profit of 48 million euros, 18 percent higher than a year earlier.

A year ago, BCP's loss was 152 million euros, partly due to its loss-making Greek unit that has since been sold.

Net interest income - the difference between interest charged on loans and interest paid on deposits - rose to 236 million euros, despite the heavy costs of state loans taken by the bank in 2012 under the country's bailout.

The bank said that even though its operation at home was still loss-making, it showed an improvement from a year ago, demonstrating "a recovery trend for profitability in Portugal".

Chief Executive Nuno Amado said the bank is working to break even in the second half of this year. "We hope that in global terms 2015 will be a year when we have positive results," Amado told a press conference.

Last year, the country's economy started to recover from its worst recession since the 1970s, but is yet to post its first full year of growth. Encouraged by the economic rebound, Lisbon decided on Sunday to exit its international bailout without requesting an emergency European loan. (Reporting By Sergio Goncalves and Andrei Khalip; Editing by David Holmes)

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