* Q2 net attributable profit 455.7 mln dhs vs 415.3 mln dhs
* Profit growth on higher net interest income - up 10.3 pct
* Loans, customer deposits down 0.5 pct in H1
(Adds detail, background)
DUBAI, July 31 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi's Union National Bank
reported a 9.7-percent rise in quarterly profit on
Tuesday, beating analysts' expectations, thanks to a steep
decline in provisions and higher net interest income.
The lender, jointly owned by the governments of Abu Dhabi
and Dubai, said it had net profit of 459.6 million dirhams
($125.1 million) in the second quarter to June 30, up from 418.9
million dirhams in the prior-year period.
Analysts forecast average profit of 426.75 million dirhams,
in a Reuters poll. [ID nLDE86200B]
The bank's net attributable profit for the quarter was also
up 9.7 percent to 455.7 million dirhams, from 415.3 million
dirhams a year-ago.
Lower provisioning helped improve second-quarter profits
with impairments down 20.5 percent to 120.1 million dirhams
versus 151.0 million dirhams a year ago.
First-half net profit stood at 934.4 million dirhams, up 6.3
percent on the 878.7 million dirhams made in 2011.
"The results for the second quarter and first half of the
year have continued to show a consistent improvement over the
corresponding period last year," Mohammad Nasr Abdeen, chief
executive of UNB, said in a statement.
Net interest income helped to drive improved performance at
the bank, gaining 10.3 percent during the first half of the year
to 1.24 billion dirhams from 1.12 billion dirhams in 2011.
The growth offset the 3.7-percent drop in non-interest
income in the same period. The bank attributed the latter to a
14-percent drop in fee and commission income after the central
bank imposed restrictions on lending to individuals last year.
Loans and advances at the end of June stood at 57.3 billion
dirhams, down 0.5 percent from December 31, 2011.
Customer deposits also declined by the same amount from Dec.
31. UNB held 60 billion dirhams at the end of June.
Impairments for the first half of 2012 stood at 236.6
million dirhams, versus 220.9 million dirhams in the
corresponding period last year.
In April, Fitch Ratings affirmed UNB at 'A+' with a stable
outlook, while Kuwait-based NBK Capital said in June it
maintained its long-term 'buy' recommendation on the bank.
Shares in UNB - which will operate in five countries after
it opens a planned Kuwait branch in the third quarter - closed
up 0.68 percent on the Abu Dhabi bourse.
($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams)
(Reporting by Rachna Uppal; Writing by David French; Editing by