RABAT, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Morocco’s Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP), one of the country’s biggest lenders, said on Thursday that its first half net profit rose by 1.8 percent due to improved operating risk management.
The bank, rated BBB+/B with a stable outlook by S&P Global Ratings, said in a statement that first half net profit attributable to shareholders was 1.6 billion dirhams ($170.5 million).
Net banking income grew 2 percent to 8.2 billion dirhams in the same period, versus a year earlier. Net operating income dropped 2.7 percent to 4.05 billion dirhams, while total assets posted a small rise of 0.16 percent to 381.2 billion dirhams.
The bank has 5.9 million clients in Morocco and branches in Europe and the Gulf collecting hard currency from the Moroccan diaspora. It said it has collected additional deposits worth 5 billion dirhams, giving it a 26.8 percent share of the Moroccan market.
On Tuesday, the bank said it had entered into exclusive talks with France’s cooperative lender BPCE to acquire majority stakes in banks in Cameroon, Madagascar, Tunisia and the Republic of the Congo.
Once completed, this acquisition would help BCP expand its branches in Africa to 17 countries. (Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi Editing by Ulf Laessing and Kirsten Donovan)