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State Bank of Mauritius

In spite of a stagnant tourism industry, a decline in the export processing zone sector and a weak performance from its offshore banking industry, the Mauritian economy expanded at an estimated 4.2% in 2004 compared with 4.3% in 2003.

In the commercial banking sector, Commercial Bank of Mauritius recovered well in 2004 having been rocked by what it describes as the "massive fraud" it uncovered in February 2003. The bank posted an increase in net interest income of 6.4% in the year ended June 2004, although operating profits were marginally down.

State Bank of Mauritius, however, comfortably retains the title of best bank in Mauritius, increasing its profit before tax from Rs1.2 billion to Rs1.36 billion ($46.6 billion). Although SBM's cost-to-income ratio rose marginally, its ratio of 28.43% for 2004 excluding depreciation charges and exceptional items is one of the lowest in Africa. Other key performance indicators such as risk-adjusted return on capital and economic value added were also up in 2004.

In the half-year to the end of December 2004, SBM posted a continued rise in assets, deposits and net profits. At a group level, net profits advanced by 2.7%

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