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Value

Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior, S.A. (BLX - Snapshot Report) (or Bladex) has beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three out of the last four quarters and matched once, putting together an average surprise of 34.1% in that time. Most recently, this foreign trade finance provider surprised by 8.9% in the second-quarter 2012. With a forward P/E multiple of just 8.3, this Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) is an attractive pick for value investors.

Solid Second-Quarter Performance

On July 18, Bladex delivered second quarter 2012 earnings of 61 cents per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 56 cents. However, earnings were down 12% from 69 cents in the second quarter of 2011.Better-than-expected results were aided by decent growth on the top line, partially offset by a marginal rise in operating expenses.

Net interest income jumped 11% year over year to $26.0 million. Likewise, fee income increased nearly 2% to $13.8 million. However, non-interest expenses inched up 1% to $13.5 million.

The Commercial Portfolio surged 8% from the second quarter of 2011 to $5.6 billion. The hike was driven by Bladex's established base of corporations, which was up 5%, along with expansion in the middle-market segment, which improved 43% in the quarter.

Estimates Moving Higher

Over the last 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2012 increased 3.3% to $2.52 per share with just one of four estimates revised upward. This implies a year-over-year growth of 11.8%. For 2013, the Zacks Consensus Estimate is $2.69, marking an upswing of 5.9% over the last 30 days and suggesting a year-over-year improvement of about 6.8%.

Reasonable Valuation

Along with a P/E of 8.3, Bladex has a price-to-book (P/B) ratio of 0.74. (A P/E ratio under 15.0 and P/B ratio under 3.0 generally indicate value). Furthermore, over the last year, the company’s share price has climbed nearly 12%.

Additionally, Bladex currently enjoys a solid dividend yield of 4.8%. The second quarter of 2012 marked the company’s 33rd straight dividend-paying quarter. Therefore, in addition to being a value stock, the company also offers a lucrative growth and income opportunity.

Panama-based Banco Latinoamericano was created by the Central Banks of Latin America and the Caribbean as a supranational bank to support trade finance in the region. With a market capitalization of $598.9 million, the company’s shareholders include 23 Central Banks and state-owned entities in the region, along with Latin American and international commercial banks as well as institutional and retail investors.

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