Fri, Oct 11, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Cathay Financial tops peers in earnings

CATCHING UP:Fubon Financial Holding Co, which seems on track to be overtaken by Cathay Financial in EPS, said its earnings were weakened by its lottery unit’s losses

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控), Taiwan’s largest financial service provider by assets, topped its peers in terms of earnings last month and is catching up with Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控) in accumulative profits this year.

Cathay Financial posted NT$2.3 billion (US$77.84 million) in net income last month, down 16.36 percent from a month earlier after the company reported that it collected lower cash dividends from its investments, the company said in a statement.

Among its major subsidiaries, Cathay United Bank (國泰世華銀行) generated NT$1.41 billion net profit on the back of low funding costs and a healthy fee income, while Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽) recorded NT$800 million in net income, thanks to its real-estate stakes increasing in value, the statement said.

Overall, Cathay Financial’s cumulative profits reached NT$26.7 billion during the first nine months, or earnings per share (EPS) of NT$2.32, which was second only to Fubon Financial’s NT$2.74 in EPS over the same period.

Fubon Financial's cumulative profits in the first nine months lagged Cathay Financial a bit at NT$26.69 billion, the company said in a statement.

The company reported NT$982 million in net income last month, retreating 58.57 percent from a month earlier, attributable to the recognition of NT$760 million in losses at its lottery unit, Taiwan Sports Lottery Corp (運彩科技).

The lossmaking subsidiary will cease to weaken the group’s earnings when its lottery contract expires at the end of this year, the statement said.

Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank (台北富邦銀行) continued to be the main source of income with earnings of NT$974 million last month, while Fubon Life Insurance Co (富邦人壽) booked NT$495 million in profit, the statement said.

Though the insurer set aside another NT$160 million in special reserves last month to buffer foreign exchange losses, the pool hovered between about NT$400 million and NT$500 million, the lowest among major life insurance companies, the statement said.

The NT dollar picked up 1 percent against the US currency last month as hot money flowed back to Asian markets, including Taiwan.

The local currency’s gain raised currency-hedging costs for life insurers, causing Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽) to incur NT$570 million in losses last month and pushing Shin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控) to book a net loss of NT$100 million last month, the company said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, bank-focused Mega Financial Holding Co (兆豐金控) recorded NT$2.36 billion in profit last month, up 48.43 percent from August, with cumulative earnings totaling NT$18.19 billion for the first nine months, or EPS of NT$1.59, the third-highest among peers, the company said.

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