KUALA LUMPUR: Public Bank Bhd posted lower earnings in the fourth quarter, as income from its key retail banking and hire purchase business declined.
The group said pre-tax profit contributions from its retail business fell 13.4% on lower fees and higher impairment allowance, while its hire purchase business suffered a 5% drop on reduced net interest margin.
“The competition for loans and deposits in the banking sector was highly intense in 2018,” its founder, chairman emeritus, director and adviser Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow said in a statement today.
“However, the Public Bank group continued to uphold prudent credit assessment, so as to preserve its asset quality and protect its returns, while sustaining its market position,” he said.
Net profit for the October-December quarter fell 5.4% to RM1.4bil, but enough to lift the bank’s full year earnings to a new high of RM5.59bil.
For 2018, the bank achieved a healthy loans growth of 4.2%.
Teh said the group’s lending strategy remained focused on consumer financing for the purchase of residential properties and passenger vehicles, as well as extension of credit to small and medium enterprises for purchase of commercial properties and working capital.
The bank continued to retain leading market share of 19.8% for residential property financing and 35.2% for commercial property financing.
“With the mass market being its key targeted segment, the Public Bank group continues to expect growth arising from the growing private sector economy,” Teh said.
The bank has declared a second interim payout of 37 sen a share to be paid on March 14.
Coupled with the first payout, total dividend declared amounted to 69 sen. This represents a total dividend payout of RM2.7bil, or 47.9% of group’s net profit in FY18.