Spain's Bankia has today posted an almost 40% rise in full-year net profit in 2018.

The bank said a pick up in trading offset a fourth-quarter loss from the sale of toxic assets as the lender intensified efforts to clean up its balance sheet. 

Bankia's net profit reached €703m in 2018, up from €505m a year earlier, boosted by higher commissions and trading income despite ongoing pressure on lending. 

The Spanish government holds a 64% stake in Bankia, the country's fourth largest bank by assets, following a €22.4 billion rescue in 2012 during the country's financial crisis. 

Bankia said its net interest income, a measure of earnings on loans minus deposit costs, reached €2.01 billion in 2018, 9.6% lower than in 2017. 

In the fourth quarter, the bank said its net interest income rose 2.4% from the previous quarter to €507m. 

Fees and commissions rose 3.4% in 2018 to €1.01 billion. 

Bankia said it reduced non-performing assets by 35% in 2018 to €10.9 billion, although that had pushed it to a €40m net loss in the fourth quarter. 

In December the government extended the sale period of its Bankia stake to the end of 2021.