RABAT, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Morocco’s Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP), one of the country’s biggest lenders, reported on Wednesday a 5.5% increase in its first half net profit attributable to shareholders to 1.64 billion dirhams ($170 million) citing improved margins.
Net banking income rose 4.8% to 8.78 billion dirhams over the same period, said the bank, rated BB/B with a stable outlook by S&P Global Ratings.
Total deposits rose to 286 billion dirhams by June 2019 including an additional 4 billion dirhams collected from individuals in Morocco and Moroccans living abroad.
The bank’s loans increased 1.2% to 247 billion dirhams.
The bank said it increased its general risk provision to 550 million dirhams, as the cost of risk evolves in tandem with growing banking activity.
BCP has 6.2 million clients in Morocco and branches in Africa, Europe and the Gulf. The first half was marked by the launch of a subsidiary trade bank in Mauritius where the BCP sees opportunities created by investment flows from Asia to Africa. (Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by David Gregorio)