Nigeria's Biggest Bank Sees 82% Drop in Profit as Economy Slows

FBN Holdings Plc, Nigeria’s largest lender, said profit slumped in 2015 as the plunge in oil prices weighed on Africa’s biggest producer.

Net income declined 82 percent to 15 billion naira ($76 million) from 84 billion naira in 2014, the Lagos-based bank said in a statement Tuesday. Provisions for loan losses jumped to 119 billion naira from 26 billion naira a year ago.

FBN had warned in February of a drop in full-year earnings because of businesses falling behind on loans. Revenue rose to 505 billion naira from 482 billion naira, while net interest income advanced to 265 billion naira from 244 billion naira.

Last year’s freefall in crude oil has forced the government to curb spending and made it harder for companies to pay their debts. Economic growth slowed to 2.8 percent in 2015, the lowest since 1999. The International Monetary Fund forecasts a further slowdown in 2016.

FBN advanced 2.4 percent to 3.39 naira at 2 p.m. in Lagos. The stock is down 34 percent this year, compared with a 14 percent drop for the Nigerian Stock Exchange Banking 10 Index and 13 percent of the 177-member Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index.

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