Morocco's BCP says net profit rose 5.3 pct in 2016

Bank reported 5.3% rise in net profit attributable to shareholders in 2016 to $265mln

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RABAT, March 21 (Reuters) - Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP), one of Morocco's three biggest lenders, reported on Tuesday a 5.3 percent rise in 2016 net profit, boosted by its international subsidiaries.

Net profit attributable to shareholders rose to 2.64 billion dirhams ($265 million) from 2.51 billion in 2015, the bank said in a statement.

The increase came despite higher risk provisions, or funds set aside to cover potential future losses.

BCP's net banking income rose 2 percent to 15.65 billion dirhams, led by gains from sub-Saharan subsidiary Atlantic Business International.

Deposits rose 4 percent to 250.3 billion dirhams, representing a 60 percent share of Moroccan market growth and including a 6 percent increase in remittances from Moroccans living abroad, the bank said.

BCP is preparing to invest 400 million dirhams in an Islamic subsidiary after the central bank gave final regulatory approval this month for the country to launch an Islamic finance industry.

(Reporting by Samia Errazzouki; Editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter) (( ; +216-29850352;))

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