May 14, 2014 / 6:29 AM / 3 years ago

UBI Q1 net profit doubles, bad loans slightly down

MILAN, May 14 (Reuters) - Net profit at Italy's fifth-biggest bank, UBI, more than doubled in the first quarter thanks to rising operating revenues and its stock of bad loans, a sore point for lenders in the euro zone's third biggest economy, edged down slightly.

UBI, one of 15 Italian banks under scrutiny in a Europe-wide health check of lenders, said its net profit came in at 58.1 million euros ($79.6 million), better than a 53 million euros analyst consensus forecast distributed by the bank and up from 26.5 million euros a year ago.

Operating revenues rose 6.7 percent, with net interest income - a measure of how much money a bank makes from its core retail business - up 8.9 percent and income from trading increasing 33 percent.

Writedowns on impaired loans were up 26 percent to 198.6 million euros from a year earlier, but the backlog of bad debts inched down 15 million euros lower compared with end-2013 to 12.65 billion euros.

UniCredit is the only other top Italian bank to have reported a fall in first-quarter soured loans so far, although it also booked sharply lower loan writedowns after a massive clean-up of its balance sheet in 2013.

UBI's Common Equity Tier 1 - a measure of financial strength - stood at around 10.5 percent at end-March, well above a minimum 8 percent requirement set by the European Central Bank for banks in the review. ($1 = 0.7296 Euros) (Reporting by Silvia Aloisi)

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