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UOB Q4 profit up 10% to S$1.01b

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United Overseas Bank's (UOB) net profit for its fourth quarter rose 10 per cent from the year-ago period, driven by growth in net interest income and trading and investment income, the bank announced on Friday.

UNITED Overseas Bank's (UOB) net profit for its fourth quarter rose 10 per cent from the year-ago period, driven by growth in net interest income and trading and investment income, the bank announced on Friday. 

Net profit for the three months ended Dec 31, 2019 stood at S$1.01 billion, compared with S$916 million from the year-ago period. 

Annualised earnings per share stood at at S$2.35 for the quarter, up 9.3 per cent from S$2.15 a year ago.

The directors recommended a dividend of 55 Singapore cents and a special dividend of 20 cents per share for the period. This is up slightly from 50 Singapore cents and a special dividend of 20 cents for the year-ago period. 

Together with the interim dividend of 55 cents, the total dividend for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2019 amounts to S$1.30 per share.

Net interest income for the quarter grew 2 per cent cent to S$1.64 billion, on the back of a 3 per cent loan growth. 

Net interest margin nudged down four basis points to 1.76 per cent for the quarter, from 1.80 per cent a year ago.

Net fee and commission income was up 2 per cent to S$476 million from a year ago, driven by healthy momentum in wealth management and higher
credit cards fees, said UOB.

Trading and investment income rose to S$224 million from S$59 million a year ago, led by improved gains from investment securities on market recovery and stronger customer flows, said the lender. 

UOB's non-performing loans ratio for the quarter stood unchanged at 1.5 per cent from the year-ago period. 

Total allowances grew 14 per cent to S$146 million due to higher allowances for impaired assets, said the bank.

“We started 2020 on a strong footing, having achieved record earnings last year on the back of broad-based growth across our business segments," said UOB chief executive Wee Ee Cheong. 

In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, Mr Wee added: "We believe the region will weather this storm and are confident of Asean's long-term potential. We will continue to invest in our capabilities, including digital, and seize the opportunities arising from the shifting economic environment." 

UOB's net profit for the full year ended Dec 31, 2019 grew 8 per cent to a record S$4.34 billion from a year ago.

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