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Bradesco First-Quarter Profit Rises as Loan Losses Slow

April 22 (Bloomberg) -- Banco Bradesco SA, Latin America’s second-biggest bank by market value, said profit rose 3.2 percent as the lender curtailed the growth of bad loans.

First-quarter adjusted net income, which excludes one-time items, climbed to 2.94 billion reais ($1.46 billion) from 2.85 billion reais a year earlier, the Osasco, Brazil-based firm said today in a filing. That matched the 3 billion-real average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Bradesco, led by Chief Executive Officer Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi, 61, said provisions for bad loans rose at a slower pace than lending, as Brazil’s consumer delinquency rates declined in February to the lowest since November 2011. Loans at least 90 days overdue, a signal of future write-offs, fell to 4 percent at the end of March from 4.1 percent a year earlier, the company said.

“We liked Bradesco’s results, especially the positive trend for administrative expenses,” analysts at Banco Itau BBA, including Regina Longo Sanchez, wrote in a report today, also citing improved asset quality and the decline in soured loans.

Provisions increased 0.5 percent to 3.11 billion reais in the first quarter from a year earlier. Loans rose 12 percent to 391.7 billion reais. Administrative and personnel expenses fell 5.6 percent to 6.51 billion reais from the fourth quarter and rose from 6.28 billion reais a year earlier.

The bank expects its portfolio of loans to grow about 15 percent in 2013, the mid-point of its guidance of 13 percent to 17 percent, Luiz Carlos Angelotti, executive director, told reporters on a conference call today. Bradesco’s delinquency rates will continue falling during 2013 as Brazil’s economy recovers, he said.

Bradesco was unchanged at 32.30 reais in Sao Paulo, compared with a 0.7 percent rise for the benchmark Bovespa index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Francisco Marcelino in Sao Paulo at mdeoliveira@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net

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