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OTP earnings leap on expansion

OTP Bank Nyrt, Hungary's banking flagship, said profit rose 23% in the second quarter as economic growth stoked demand for financial services. Net income rose to Ft 46.7 billion, or Ft 180.4 a share, from Ft 38.1 billion, or Ft 144.6, a year earlier, the Budapest-based bank said in a statement today. Profit was higher than most analysts expected. OTP is targeting acquisitions in former communist countries where growth is outstripping its domestic market. OTP Chairman Sándor Csányi has spent USD 2.2 billion buying banks in the region in the past five years and is planning more. Net income was expected at Ft 44 billion in the median estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. OTP's net interest income, the difference between the money paid on deposits and that collected on loans, declined 4.9% to Ft 73.1 billion, the bank said. That was in line with what analysts had expected. Income from fees and commissions surged 46% to Ft 71.5 billion because of gains from currency trading. (Bloomberg)