Spain's Caixabank posts a 53.4 percent rise in nine-month net profit to 1.49 billion euros ($1.75 billion), ahead of analysts' forecasts and thanks to the incorporation of Portugal's BPI. But as Silvia Antonioli reports, Catalonia's biggest lender still faces the negative impact from the political crisis there.
The skies are blue for Caixabank, at least today Its net profit for the year to September jumped by 53 percent to almost 1.5 billion euros. That was also thanks to the acquisitions of Portugues bank BPI. It was a clear beat on analysts' forecasts which boosted shares in Spain's third-largest lender and supported Madrid's IBEX too. Like its peers, Caixabank is continuing to clean the toxic balance sheets left over from Spain's financial crisis. But this is only one side of the story. Catalonia's largest bank could still be facing a storm as investors and savers worry about Catalonia's push for independence SOUNDBITE, CCLA, Chief Investment Officer, James Bevan: "There must be a risk that if there is civil unrest the capacity for Spain to generate the sort of growth that is required to generate further confidence in the markets is removed." Caixabank shares have lost some 10 percent since the banned Catalan independence refererendum The bank said it did see an outflow of deposits after the vote but it swears that has now reversed It swiftly moved its legal headquarter from Barcelona to safer Valencia earlier this month. Yet the new legal base might not be enough to guarantee peace and growth. SOUNDBITE, CCLA, Chief Investment Officer, James Bevan: "It is not difficult to see how if people feel sufficiently uncomfortable with the way that Madrid acts that Catalonia, which is the powerhouse in economic terms for Spain, delivers much less to the overall Spanish economy." Caixabank's corporate headquarters will remain in Barcelona for now. Any decision to end a decade as a Catalan bank won't be taken lightly.