March 7, 2012 / 7:13 PM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-Laurentian Bank profit falls, shares slide

* Q1 EPS C$1.16 vs year-earlier C$1.41

* Profit misses estimates, costs higher

* Shares fall 2.4 pct (Adds details, share retreat)

March 7 (Reuters) - Higher costs pushed Laurentian Bank of Canada to a 16 percent drop in quarterly profit, and the company's shares were down by more than 2 percent on Wednesday in reaction.

Laurentian, Canada's seventh-largest bank by assets, earned C$31.0 million ($31.0 million), or C$1.16 a share, in its first quarter, compared with C$36.9 million, or C$1.41 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding integration costs stemming from the acquisition of the MRS financial-management companies in September, the bank earned C$1.24 a share.

Both measures fell short of analysts' expectations of a profit of C$1.26 a share.

Total revenue rose to C$193.7 million from C$182.4 million, helped by loan growth, the bank said. But profits were hurt by higher non-interest expenses and income taxes.

Montreal-based Laurentian bought MRS - a group of four financial-management firms with about C$850 million in assets - from IGM Financial.

The company is the sixth Canadian bank to report first-quarter results and only the second to miss analyst estimates.

Analysts have predicted a slowdown in Canadian retail banking growth as already heavily indebted consumers start to borrow less and as interest margins narrow. They say, however, that slower growth could be more of a factor in bank results later in the year.

Laurentian's shares were down C$1.09, or 2.4 percent, at C$43.96 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday afternoon, the weakest stock in the S&P/TSX financials index.

$1=$1.00 Canadian Reporting By Cameron French in Toronto and Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore Editing by Peter Galloway

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