UOB net profit up 7% to S$916 million in Q4

Net profit for the quarter was supported by higher net interest income and a growth in loans, the bank said.

United Overseas Bank (UOB) clocked in a 7% increase in net profit for the fourth quarter, supported by higher net interest income and a growth in loans, the bank said on Friday morning. The group posted a record net profit for the full year of 2018, at S$4.0 billion.

Net profit for the fourth quarter came in at S$916 million, higher than the S$855 million in the same quarter a year ago. Compared to the third quarter, net profit was lower by 12%, due to heightened market uncertainties, said UOB.

Net interest income for the fourth quarter rose by 10% to S$1.6 billion, supported by an 11% growth in loans. Net interest margin fell by one basis points for the fourth quarter compared to the same period a year ago, at 1.80%.

Earnings per share (EPS) for the fourth quarter came in at 2.15 Singapore cents, higher than the 1.98 Singapore cents a year ago.

Healthy growth helped deliver record profits

The group registered a record profit for the full year of last year, an 18% gain from a year ago’s S$3.4 billion to S$4.0 billion, supported by strong growth in both net interest and fee and commission income, the bank said. Net interest margin increased by five basis points from a year ago to 1.82%, due to the rising interest rates environment.

Commenting on the results, Mr Wee Ee Chong, deputy chairman and chief executive of UOB said the ‘healthy growth’ across the group’s core franchise has helped delivered the record profits for the full financial year of 2018.

As global uncertainties persist in 2019, Mr Wee said UOB will stay disciplined in pursuing sustainable growth, while maintaining a risk-focused approach and equipping its clients for the future.

Despite the market volatility last year, the group said its ‘funding position and capital base stayed strong’. Gross loans and deposits grew 11% and 7% year-on-year to S$262 billion and S$293 billion respectively, with a healthy loan-to-deposit ratio of 88.2% as at the end of last year.

The group is providing a final dividend of 50 Singapore cents per ordinary share. In appreciation of the support from its shareholders, UOB said it is giving a special dividend of 20 Singapore cents. Adding the interim dividend of 50 Singapore cents, the total dividend for the financial year of 2018 amounts to S$1.20 per ordinary share, which is a 20% increase compared to last year.

UOB shares were lower a few hours into trading on Friday morning, down 1.58% or S$0.41, at S$25.57.

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