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Thai banking duo's profit lifted by fee and interest income

[BANGKOK] Two of Thailand's leading lenders reported higher third-quarter profit on Thursday, with Bank of Ayudhya raking in record earnings, driven by a jump in net interest income.

The outlook for Thailand's banking sector has brightened as growth in Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy begins to build momentum on rising exports and consumption. The central bank said last month that banks had high capital adequacy ratios and that the increase in bad loans had slowed.

"We expect the continuation of economic momentum, together with an expected seasonal rise in business for both retail and commercial lending," Bank of Ayudhya President and CEO Noriaki Goto said in a statement on Thursday.

The bank posted a net profit of 6.01 billion baht (S$246.3 million) for the three months to Sept 30, up 3.2 per cent year on year.

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The result fell short of an average estimate of 6.1 billion baht from three analysts polled by Reuters but was still a record-high quarterly profit for the bank.

Thailand's largest lender, Bangkok Bank later reported a 1.2 per cent rise in third-quarter net profit to 8.16 billion baht.

Net interest income grew to 16.8 billion baht, up 4.7 per cent, while non-interest income rose by 7 per cent to 11.7 billion baht. The ratio of non-performing loans (NPLs) to total lending rose to 3.8 per cent from 3.2 per cent last December.

Bank of Ayudhya's profit growth was also driven by a jump in net interest income, whgich rose to 17.3 billion baht from 15.8 billion baht a year ago. Fee and service income rose by about 9.5 per cent to 5 billion baht.

Its NPL ratio was stable at 2.16 per cent, the lowest level since December.

Bank of Ayudhya, controlled by Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, reiterated that it was aiming for loan growth of 6-8 per cent for 2017, with CEO Goto saying the increase would come in at the lower end of the range.

REUTERS