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Banco do Brasil: Profits surge 28% in 2015.

State-controlled Banco do Brasil said Thursday that net income totaled 14.4 billion reais (about $3.64 billion) in 2015, up 28 percent from the previous year.

The bank, whose shares trade on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange, said adjusted net income, excluding special and one-time charges, totaled 11.59 billion reais (some $2.93 billion) last year, an increase of just 2.2 percent compared to 2014.

The 2015 results benefited from the business generated by Cateno, a subsidiary created jointly with credit-card company Cielo, that generated profits of 3.21 billion reais (about $813 million), Banco do Brasil said.

Profits came in at 2.51 billion reais (about $635 million) in the fourth quarter, down 15.1 percent from the same period in 2014 and off 17.9 percent from the third quarter, the bank said.

Banco do Brasil’s loan portfolio totaled 814.8 billion reais (about $206.27 billion) as of Dec. 31, up 6.9 percent in 12 months.

The percentage of loans past due 90 days rose slightly from 2.03 percent in December 2014 to 2.38 percent in in December 2015.

Brazil’s economy, the largest in Latin America, is mired in a recession.

Analysts, according to the weekly Central Bank survey, expect Brazil’s economy to contract by 3.4 percent this year, with inflation hitting 7.62 percent.

Brazil had an inflation rate of 10.67 percent in 2015, the highest level in 13 years, while the economy contracted by 3.71 percent, according to analysts surveyed for the Boletin Focus.

In an effort to bolster the fiscal situation, the government said last Friday that it planned to cut spending by 23.4 billion reais (about $5.78 billion) this year.

On Wednesday, Moody’s Investors Service joined the two other major credit rating agencies in downgrading Brazil’s sovereign debt to junk territory.

Moody’s lowered Brazil’s credit rating by two notches from Baa3 (its lowest investment-grade rating) to Ba2 and changed the country’s outlook to “negative,” a move that follows similar actions by Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s. 
(Fuente: LA Herald Tribune)