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Bank of East Asia's China ops see first-ever loss

Net profit slid 33% as bad debts rise on mainland

From left, Bank of East Asia executives Adrian David Li Man-kiu, David Li Kwok-po and Brian David Li Man-bun discuss 2016 financial results on Feb. 17. (Photo by Joyce Ho)

HONG KONG -- Bank of East Asia reported a 33% slide in net profit for 2016 as mounting bad debts on the Hong Kong company's mainland book took a heavy toll, driving the first net loss for the bank's China arm since its formation in early 2007.

A second consecutive year of deteriorating performance led to net profit of 3.72 billion Hong Kong dollars ($480 million), or HK$1.21 per share -- a seven-year low. The biggest drag came from impairment losses on loans and advances, which rose more than 70%. But despite the improvement in the second half of the year, full-year net interest income and non-interest income fell 7% and 4.7%, respectively. The China arm delivered a net loss of HK$461 million.

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