Spain's Popular says H1 profit drops 25 pct from year ago

MADRID, July 30 Wed Jul 30, 2014 2:17am EDT

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MADRID, July 30 (Reuters) - Spain's Banco Popular on Wednesday posted a 25 percent drop in first half net profit, beating forecasts even though it hiked provisions against soured assets as lending revenue fell slightly less than expected from a year ago.

Popular, Spain's sixth-biggest bank by market value, said profit was 128.5 million euros ($172 million) in the January-June period, above of 124 million euros expected by analysts polled by Reuters.

The bank said net interest income, or earnings on loans minus deposit costs, was 1.13 billion euros in the first half of the year, down nearly 9 percent from a year ago. (Reporting by Sarah White, Editing by Julien Toyer)