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Laurentian Bank posts slight rise in profit

Rejean Robitaille, president and chief executive officer of Laurentian Bank.

CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/REUTERS

Laurentian Bank of Canada is reporting a slight increase in net income in the third quarter as the bank says some benefits are already being realized from recent acquisitions.

The Montreal-based bank says it earned net income of $30-million, or $1.06 diluted per share, in the quarter ended July 31.

That was up from $29.1-million, or $1.08 diluted per share, in the same year-earlier period.

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Adjusted diluted earnings were $1.27 per share, up from $1.08.

Total revenue was $193.8-million, up from $185.8-million in the 2011 period.

The bank left its quarterly dividend unchanged at 47 cents, after having raised it for the third time in a year in June. Previously, Laurentian had upped its payout in June 2011 and again last December.

Excluding transaction and integration costs related to recent acquisitions, net income would have been up 21 per cent over last year at $35-million, or $1.27 per diluted share, Laurentian said in its earnings report.

Laurentian announced the $415.5-million purchase of AGF Management's trust operations in June. That was the second major deal by the bank in six months, following its $165-million purchase of MRS companies from Mackenzie in September.

"Once again, we continued to increase the bank's core profitability amid a challenging environment," president and chief executive officer Rejean Robitaille said in remarks accompanying the results.

"We generated good organic loan and deposit growth in all our business lines and continued to benefit from excellent credit quality."

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"Furthermore, the conversion and integration process of the MRS Companies is progressing according to plan with some synergies already being achieved," he said, adding that the bank also remains focused on closely managing expenses.

Laurentian had been among seven Canadian banks that had their outlook cut from stable to negative last month by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services over concerns about unsustainably high home prices and consumer debt levels.

Others to have their outlooks cut included Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, National Bank of Canada. All turned in stellar earnings reports this quarter.

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