Malaysia's Maybank Q1 profit climbs 6 pct

KUALA LUMPUR Thu May 29, 2014 1:00am EDT

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KUALA LUMPUR May 29 (Reuters) - Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), Malaysia's largest bank by assets, said net profit for the first quarter rose 6.3 percent, helped by growth in loans, particularly at its Islamic banking division.

Net profit came in at 1.6 billion ringgit ($497 million) for January-March, up from 1.5 billion ringgit a year earlier.

Revenue rose 2.9 percent year-on-year to 8.36 billion ringgit in the quarter, according to a filing with the local stock exchange.

Maybank, led by new chief Abdul Farid Alias, is looking to ramp up expansion in Southeast Asia, seeking to boost overseas profits to 40 percent of overall income in 2015 from about 30 percent now.

Rival CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, Malaysia's second-largest bank, this week reported a 23 percent drop in first-quarter net profit after earnings in the same period last year were bolstered by the sale of a business unit. ($1 = 3.2170 Malaysian Ringgit)

(Reporting by Yantoultra Ngui; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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