Hibernia Corp. said Thursday that its first-quarter earnings would be 35% lower than expected, primarily because of losses on loans to bankrupt subprime lenders.

The New Orleans banking company said it would increase its loan-loss provision for the quarter by $18 million, to $30 million, mostly to cover losses related to its role in an $850 million syndicated loan to United Companies Financial Corp., which filed for bankruptcy this month.

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