Costa del Sol-based banking group, Unicaja Banco, has reported a net profit of 159 million euros for the first nine months of this year, up 11.8% on the same period in 2018.
Announcing the rise on Monday, directors of the bank, which is the seventh biggest in Spain, highlighted the rise in gross margin (6.8%), a reduction in running costs of 12 million (-2,5%) and lower exceptional provisions due to a decrease in "unproductive assets" (largely bad debt and repossessed properties), reaching its 2020 reduction target ahead of time.
The reduction in problem assets has helped a fall in bad debt of 2.8 percentage points to 4.7%. Despite offloading some of its problem assets, a total of just over 1.5 billion euros is still on the books, a throwback to the world financial crisis a decade ago.
The bank confirmed it is in a "comfortably solvent position" and that there was margin to improve the dividend.
In terms of any possible future mergers and acquisitions, directors said that the group "would study any potential corporate operation that generated value for its shareholders".