By Jesús Aguado
MADRID, April 30 (Reuters) - Spain’s Caixabank posted a 24 percent fall in first-quarter net profit on Tuesday on lower trading income and after it cut its stake in oil major Repsol.
Caixabank, Spain’s third largest bank, reported net profit of 533 million euros ($596 million) in the first three months of the year, below an average of analysts’ forecasts in a Reuters poll of 548 million euros.
Caixabank has relied heavily in the past on hefty dividends and income from its holdings, but changed strategy after it announced in September it was selling its 9.4 percent stake in Repsol.
At the end of March, Caixabank held a 2 percent in Repsol which it trimmed it to 1.1 percent at April 29.
An accounting reclassification at BFA, the Angolan unit, which it holds through its Portuguese bank BPI, also hit the bottom line.
Shares in Caixabank were down 1.6 percent in early trading.
Net interest income, a measure of earnings on loans minus deposit costs, was 1.24 billion euros, up 2.9 percent from a year ago, though almost flat against the previous quarter, which was in line with analysts’ forecasts.
Spanish banks are struggling to lift earnings from mortgage loans as interest rates hover at historic lows and are battling over more profitable household lending.
The lender has been one of the most acquisitive in a consolidating Spanish banking industry. It also took over BPI in February 2017 as it expanded abroad to try to boost revenues.
Caixabank finished March with a core tier-1 capital ratio of 11.6 percent compared to 11.5 percent at end-December.
$1 = 0.8946 euros Reporting By Jesús Aguado; additional reporting by Andres Gonzalez Editing by Paul Day/Keith Weir