UOB's Q4 net profit fell 6.2% amid hit from oil industry exposure

UOB's Q4 net profit fell 6.2% amid hit from oil industry exposure
PHOTO: Reuters

Singapore's United Overseas Bank (UOB) reported on Friday its earnings for the fourth quarter slipped 6.2 per cent on-year to S$739 million.

For the quarter, net interest income was stable at S$1.28 billion, with strong loan growth offset by a 10 basis-point fall in the net interest margin to 1.69 per cent.

Shares of UOB jumped, trading up 1.97 per cent at 9:41 a.m..

Non-interest income fell 6.3 per cent to S$753 million in the quarter on lower trading and investment income. But fee and commission income rose 10.6 per cent to S$531 million on higher credit card and wealth management fees.

Read also: Court says UOB infringed patent, but rejects bulk of remedial claims

Like its two Singapore peers, OCBC and DBS, UOB reported a hit from its oil and gas industry exposure.

Difficulties in the oil, gas and shipping industries led to a S$313 million increase in specific allowances on loans to S$428 million.

The non-performing loan ratio rose slightly to 1.5 per cent, from 1.4 per cent in the third quarter. Both DBS and OCBC also saw that ratio increase.

The bank's CEO Wee Ee Cheong highlighted that performance was stable despite a subdued growth environment.

"Global uncertainty, slow growth and rapid digital transformation will continue in 2017. However, Asia with its increasing integration and consumer affluence presents opportunities for long-term players such as UOB," Wee said in a statement.

For the full year, UOB's net profit slipped 3.5 per cent to S$3.10 billion.

Net interest income rose 1.3 per cent to S$4.99 billion for 2016, with UOB citing healthy loan growth in the consumer and the non-bank financial institution customer segments.

Full-year non-interest income slipped 1.6 per cent to S$3.07 billion, with trading and investment income falling 8.1 per cent on lower earnings from the sale of investment securities, offset by higher trading income.

UOB proposed a final dividend of 35 Singapore cents a share, bringing the total dividend payout for the year to 70 Singapore cents, down from 90 Singapore cents in 2015.

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