KARACHI - United Bank Limited (UBL) announced consolidated profit before tax (PBT) of Rs.4.2 billion for the first quarter of year 2009, nearly 12 per cent lower than last year, mainly on account of the recessive conditions in the domestic market and the persistent global slowdown. Profit after tax at Rs.2.8b translates into basic Earning per Share (EPS) of Rs2.72 (March 2008: Rs. 3.09), which is 12pc lower than in the same period last year. Net interest income grew nearly 25pc whereas non-interest income was lower by the same percentage largely due to lower fee commissions and lower income on derivatives. Operating revenue however closed 8 per cent higher than last year, at Rs.10.7b. Administrative expenses were 12pc higher during the first quarter. Whilst nearly half of the increase is attributable to personnel cost, one-fourth is due to higher premises costs including rent, gas and electricity charges. High domestic inflation (CPI: 21%) also contributed towards the increase in operating expenses. Total assets grew by Rs.21b to Rs.642b in the last three months. Remittances achieved record levels during the first quarter, peaking in the month of March. At the same time the bank was able to improve the service standard for customers by offering over the counter cash payments on UBL Tezraftaar. This service is also being rolled out in a phased manner across the network.