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Maybank books record annual profit, flags virus impact

Maybank Group Results (27 Feb 2020).jpg
(from left) The lender's group president and chief executive officer Abdul Farid Alias; chairman Mohaiyani Shamsudin; and group financial officer Feisal Zahir, at Maybank's results announcement on Thursday.

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malayan Banking (Maybank) posted on Thursday a higher fourth-quarter net profit and a record annual profit, underpinned by strong performances in its insurance and Islamic banking businesses.

In a bourse filing, Malaysia's largest lender by assets said solid quarterly performances in these segments lifted its full-year net profit to a record high of RM8.2 billion (S$2.7 billion).

Maybank recorded a RM2.45 billion profit in the October-December period, compared with RM2.33 billion a year earlier, beating the RM2.44 billion analysts' forecast by Refinitiv.

The company's fourth-quarter revenue rose 6.1 per cent to RM12.98 billion, while its net interest income dipped 0.8 per cent to RM3.08 billion.

Net interest margin - a key measure of bank profitability - compressed 6 basis points in 2019 to 2.27 per cent, as group gross loans expanded by 1.2 per cent while deposits widened 1.6 per cent for the year.

The group expects its full-year financial performance to be satisfactory amid the virus outbreak, US elections and tensions in the Middle East.

The lender has set a target for return on equity of 10 per cent to 11 per cent.

The bank will "seek out selective growth opportunities despite the overall cautious stance" on prevailing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak and other geo-political issues, group president and chief executive officer Abdul Farid Alias said.

The Malaysian lender had earlier flagged potential impact on its clients due to the uncertainty surrounding the country's domestic economic policy.

REUTERS