Net income at Royal Bank of Canada for the bank's first quarter, which ended Jan. 31, fell 22% to $249 million as a result of restructuring charges and merger-related expenses, Royal announced Tuesday.

The bank said excluding $130 million in restructuring charges and expenses for a now-canceled merger with Bank of Montreal, Royal's first- quarter earnings would have been only 2% below first-quarter earnings last year.

The proposed merger was blocked by Canada's finance minister in December.

The restructuring charges were largely related to trimming the bank's corporate lending infrastructure outside Canada in an attempt to focus on "strategically important clients and industries" with "strong North American connections."

John E. Cleghorn, chairman and chief executive officer, said the restructuring will help the bank reduce annual operating costs by about $275 million.

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