Spain's Bankia returns to profit

Bankia branch in Spain
Image caption Bankia has shown the first signs of recovery since its bailout last year

Troubled Spanish lender Bankia has announced a return to profit after a disastrous 2012 that saw record losses and an EU-sponsored bailout.

The bank said it made 74m euros (£63m) in the first three months of this year, after a bailout last year helped it get rid of bad property loans.

Bankia became one of the biggest casualties of Spain's financial crisis, losing 19.2bn euros in 2012.

But the bank warned the Spanish economy was still a cause for concern.

"This year, 2013, will mark the return to normality, in an environment that is still not normal," Bankia's director general Jose Sevilla told reporters.

"[It] is a very demanding environment."

Its losses last year were the largest in Spanish corporate history, and it remains majority-owned by the government after receiving about 18bn euros of aid, funded by the European Union.

It did not publish results for the first quarter of 2012, when it was in the midst of the bailout.

Spain's financial sector is still recovering following the collapse of the country's property market in 2008, in which Spanish banks had significant investments.

Meanwhile the economy remains in a deep recession, and unemployment - at 27% - is the highest in the EU.

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