DBS posts record quarterly profit, powered by lending income
DBS Group Holdings Ltd, Southeast Asia`s biggest lender, beat market estimates on Monday to post a record quarterly profit, as strong net interest income offset weakness in wealth management, brokerage and investment banking fees.
DBS Group Holdings Ltd, Southeast Asia`s biggest lender, beat market estimates on Monday to post a record quarterly profit, as strong net interest income offset weakness in wealth management, brokerage and investment banking fees. First quarter profit rose 8.5 percent on a year earlier, while DBS, the first Singapore bank to kick off the sector`s results, said the macro-economic environment had stabilised. "We were positively surprised by strength in trading gains," Jefferies analyst Krishna Guha said in a report. "Overall, core driver was in line with expectations, we expect similar trends for peers as well," he added.
Net profit came in at S$1.65 billion ($1.21 billion) for the three months to end-March, up from S$1.52 billion a year earlier and an average estimate of S$1.48 billion from four analysts, according to Refinitiv I/B/E/S. DBS shares advanced 2.8 percent to the highest since June 2018, outperforming a 0.8 percent rise in the broader market. "We have had a good start to the year as business momentum was sustained and non-interest income recovered from the recent weakness," CEO Piyush Gupta said in a statement.
After three years of strong loans growth, Singapore`s banks are gearing up for tougher times as the city-state`s export-reliant economy slows, partly due to a trade war between China and the United States, analysts say. DBS said its loans grew 1 percent in the latest quarter from the fourth quarter. Non-trade corporate loans rose 3 percent while trade loans declined 4 percent.
"The record earnings and return on equity (ROE) progression demonstrate the strengthened profitability of our franchise from digitalisation, a shift towards higher-returns businesses and more nimble execution," Gupta said. The bank`s return on equity rose to 14 percent, its highest in more than a decade. Net interest margin rose five basis points to 1.88 percent, in line with higher interest rates in Singapore and Hong Kong.
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