State Bank of Mauritius' Q1 pretax profit down 20 pct

PORT LOUIS Thu May 15, 2014 10:51am EDT

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PORT LOUIS May 15 (Reuters) - State Bank of Mauritius reported a 20 percent fall in first-quarter pretax profit, mainly due to an increased losses related to bad debts and a decrease in non-interest income.

The Indian Ocean island's second-largest bank by market share, with a quarter of the market, said pretax profit for the period ending March fell to 710.9 million Mauritius rupees ($23.62 million) from 894.1 million rupees a year earlier.

Earnings per share fell to 2.31 rupees from 2.77 rupees.

The bank said interest income was flat as advances stagnated owing to difficult economic conditions, where large companies were resorting to capital markets to refinance bank debts.

The bank also earned lower yields on its government securities portfolio.

The bank said despite subdued economic growth on the island, it would continue to pursue its technology and business transformation objectives, and while this was piling up costs, it would yield returns in the medium to long term.

"Growth in credit demand is expected to be subdued and the excess liquidity situation is expected to persist for some more time," the bank said on its outlook. ($1 = 30.1000 Mauritius Rupees) (Reporting by Jean Paul Arouff; Writing by James Macharia, editing by David Evans)

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