By James A. Loyola
China Banking Corporation reported a 24 percent jump in consolidated net income to P1.9 billion for the first three months of 2019, driven by the continued robust growth of its core businesses.
During its annual stockholders’ meeting, the bank also declared record-high P2.4 billion cash dividends, equivalent to 8.8 percent or P0.88 per share, 6 percent higher than the previous year’s cash dividends.
Based on China Bank’s current share price of P26.65, the cash dividends translate to a cash yield of 3.3 percent.
“We are gratified that our first quarter results reflect the sustained growth in our businesses and the result of various initiatives,” said China Bank President William C. Whang.
The bank’s net interest income for the first quarter grew 12 percent to P5.9 billion, boosted by the 41 percent jump in interest revenues from loans.
This was complemented by the 52 percent increase in non-interest income to P1.3 billion, attributable to fees, service charges, and commissions — up 34 percent, income from the sale of acquired assets, and the positive trading and securities gains.
However, higher interest expense compressed net interest margin to 2.94 percent.
Total operating income reached P7.2 billion, up 18 percent, while total operating expense increased 13 percent to P4.8 billion as the bank continued to strengthen and expand its operations.
China Bank maintained its balance sheet strength, growing in all areas of operation. Total assets expanded 23 percent to P889 billion in tandem with the growth of the bank’s core businesses.
Gross loans grew 13 percent to P515 billion, driven by strong demand from all customer segments. Deposits rose 17 percent to P720 billion, underpinned by a 20 percent increase in checking and savings accounts.
Asset quality continued to improve, to a lower gross non-performing loans (NPL) ratio of 1.2 percent. NPL coverage ratio stood at 169 percent.