UPDATE 2-BBVA's Spanish turnaround leaves local rivals lagging

viernes 31 de julio de 2015 06:41 GYT

* BBVA posts solid Q2 results, helped by Spain rebound

* Caixabank cuts 2015 net interest income forecast

* Fierce competition pressures Popular margins (Adds details on Spanish business, outlook from Caixabank, BBVA)

By Sarah White and Jesús Aguado

MADRID, July 31 (Reuters) - A combination of acquisitions in its home market and a strong performance in Mexico helped Spanish bank BBVA increase revenues and profits in the first half of the year, showing the benefits of a growth strategy many local rivals are now looking to emulate.

Spanish banks have been improving profits as the economy picks up but many have still struggled to increase lending, while intensifying competition is eating away at margins.

Many lenders are now seeking higher returns in new markets overseas or to expand loan volumes by buying up local rivals.

Even BBVA, which like local rival Santander has long had a foreign presence and derives 41 percent of its profits from Mexico, has been rejigging its business mix, boosting its revenues in the last quarter with the integration of the newly-acquired Barcelona-based lender Catalunya Banc.

BBVA's fees and net interest income (NII) rose in Spain quarter-on-quarter, contrasting with a fall reported by Santander in that division.   Continuación...