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First Bank of Nigeria Says Profit Increased on Interest Income

Oct. 30 (Bloomberg) -- First Bank of Nigeria Plc, the West African country’s third-biggest lender by market value, said nine-month earnings rose 49 percent as net interest income jumped.

Profit after tax rose to 66.26 billion naira ($420 million) from 44.64 billion naira in the year ago period, the Lagos-based lender said in a statement published on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange today. Revenue rose to 267.69 billion naira from 225 billion naira, while interest income increased to 205.5 billion naira from 163.2 billion naira.

First Bank’s earnings are rising after Nigeria overhauled its banking system following the debt crisis in 2008, with the central bank firing the chief executive officers of eight of the country’s lenders. It also set up Asset Management Corp. of Nigeria, which bought non-performing loans from the lenders. Companies listed on the Nigerian stock exchange converted to the International Financial Reporting Standards, or IFRS, from this year following a government directive.

“The figures are pretty in line with my estimates, having expected that the transition impact to IFRS on earnings would moderate further in the third and fourth quarters,” Abiola Rasaq, a Lagos-based analyst with Vetiva Capital Management Ltd., said by phone today.

First Bank fell 1.2 percent in Lagos trading, paring this year’s gain to 83 percent. The Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index has increased 29 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vincent Nwanma in Lagos at vnwanma@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dulue Mbachu at dmbachu@bloomberg.net

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