January 26, 2011 / 12:19 AM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 2-Mexico's Banorte profits up on fees, consumer loans

* Q4 net income rises 17 percent y/y

* Non-interest income also up 17 pct y/y

* Loan portfolio seen growing as much as 12 pct in 2011 (Adds details on revenue, comment from CEO)

By Tomas Sarmiento

MEXICO CITY, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Banorte (GFNORTEO.MX), Mexico’s No. 3 bank, said on Tuesday its fourth-quarter net profit rose 17 percent, helped by higher fee revenue and more consumer loans as Mexico recovers from a deep recession.

The Monterrey-based bank said it earned 1.758 billon pesos (US$143 million) during the October-to-December period, up from 1.502 billion a year ago.

Mexican consumer confidence rebounded last year as the economy returned to growth following a bruising recession.

The country’s banks emerged healthy from the global credit crisis due to their focus on traditional lending.

Banorte’s net interest income rose 8 percent to 5.976 billion pesos. Other revenues, such as fees, rose 17 percent to 3.174 billion pesos.

Banorte set aside 1.876 billion pesos for bad loans during the quarter, 5 percent more than a year ago, but 2 percent less than the third quarter.

Chief Executive Alejandro Valenzuela told reporters Banorte’s loan portfolio would likely grow between 11 and 12 percent this year. Consumer lending rose 11 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Banorte closed down 1.08 percent on Tuesday before its results were released.

Its shares have been under pressure since the start of the week following news that corn miller Gruma (GRUMAB.MX) will sell off most of its 8.8 percent stake in the bank.

Both companies are controlled by Roberto Gonzalez Barrera. [ID:nN24175767]

Banorte agreed in November to buy smaller rival IXE IXEGFO.MX for about $1.3 billion in stock to consolidate its position in the Mexican market. The merger is expected to be completed later this year. [ID:nN17195092] ($1 = 12.3103 pesos at end-Dec.) (Reporting by Tomas Sarmiento and Michael O’Boyle; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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