Italian banking group UniCredit has reported an attributable net profit of EUR406m for the first quarter of 2016, a fall of 20.8% from EUR512m in the year-ago quarter.

For the quarter ended 31 March 2016, the bank’s operating income dipped 4.7% to EUR5.47bn from EUR5.75bn a year ago.

The bank’s pre-tax profit for the period stood at EUR736m, down 31.9% from EUR1.08bn during the first quarter of 2015.

The group’s net write-downs on loans and provisions dipped 22.9% year-on-year to EUR755m.

UniCredit CEO Federico Ghizzoni said: "In the first quarter of 2016, we reported a significantly higher net profit versus the previous quarter of above €640 m excluding negative one-off items, despite an extremely challenging financial environment.

"Our capital ratios confirm the solidity of our Group and our asset quality continues to improve: impaired loans continuously decrease, net bad loans are stable with a coverage ratio above 61%, the highest among Italian banks. The business performance is more than satisfactory, as reflected in the growth trend of loans and deposits. In particular, the increase in investment fees in Italy is extremely positive."