KUALA LUMPUR Malaysia's largest lender Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) (MBBM.KL) on Thursday posted an 18.4 percent increase in first-quarter net profit, lifted by a stronger loan business and its Islamic banking operations.
The bank posted a net profit of 1.35 billion ringgit ($429.25 million) in the quarter ended March 31, 2012 compared with 1.14 billion ringgit in the same quarter a year ago.
Revenue for the quarter ending March 31, 2012 climbed 29.8 percent to 6.66 billion ringgit from a year earlier.
Maybank said the better performance was mainly on the back of growth in its net loans and advances.
Malaysian banks have reported robust earnings in recent quarters, riding on growth at home and in Singapore and Indonesia, although a possible euro zone recession may slow global growth and earnings for the lenders.
The group's first quarter financial performance was above the profit estimate of 1.23 billion ringgit provided by analysts tracked by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Of the 25 analysts tracked by the data service, 13 held a "Strong Buy" or "Buy" call on the stock, six called the stock a "Hold" and six "Underperform" or "Sell."
Maybank said it expected a "satisfactory" financial performance for this fiscal year ending December 31 due to solid economic growth in Southeast Asia.
Maybank shares rose 0.95 percent prior to the announcement, outperforming the Malaysia's benchmark stock index's .KLSE rise of rose 0.35 percent. ($1 = 3.1450 Malaysian ringgits)
(Reporting By Yantoultra Ngui; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)