Mon, Feb 18, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Financial firms recover from slump

TOPPING THE CHARTS:Cathay Financial Holding Co bounced back from a net loss of NT$4.12bn in December to record net income of NT$4.7bn last month

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan’s 15 listed financial conglomerates last month saw their combined earnings rise from December last year amid reduced market volatility, with six of the companies out of the red.

Aggregate net income totaled NT$31.21 billion (US$1.01 billion) last month, compared with net losses of NT$5.99 billion in December last year, corporate data showed.

However, that represented a 43.05 percent decline from NT$54.8 billion in January last year.

Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控), the nation’s largest financial holding firm by market value, posted NT$4.7 billion in net income last month, or earnings per share of NT$0.37, making it the most profitable among the 15.

That was an improvement from a net loss of NT$4.12 billion in December last year, but still represented a 67.7 percent fall from NT$14.57 billion in January last year, Cathay Financial said.

The company’s main subsidiary, Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽), reported NT$2.23 billion in net profit, with its first-year premiums totaling NT$2.07 billion, while the company’s banking arm, Cathay United Bank (國泰世華銀行), booked earnings of NT$2.22 billion on the back of steady fee income.

CTBC Financial Holding Co (中信金控) outperformed Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控) to rank as the second most profitable, with net income of NT$4.08 billion last month, or earnings per share of NT$0.21, as its banking and insurance units saw steady earnings growth on recovering global equity markets.

Ranking third, Fubon Financial posted net income of NT$3.69 billion, or earnings per share of NT$0.36, as Fubon Life Insurance Co’s (富邦人壽) profit dropped significantly from NT$5.03 billion a year earlier to NT$10.52 million, company data showed.

Fubon Life attributed the plunge to higher operating costs last month and flat investment returns, but the insurer’s first-year premiums jumped 119 percent monthly to NT$36.3 billion and total premiums rose 49 percent to NT$75.1 billion, reaching a record high, it said.

Fubon Financial’s banking arm, Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank (台北富邦銀行), saw its net income advance 28 percent on the back of steadily growing fee income, it said.

Four other firms that posted net losses in December — Yuanta Financial Holding Co (元大金控), Shin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控), Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控) and China Development Financial Holding Corp (中華開發金控) — swung back into profit last month.

However, on an annual basis, only Taishin Financial saw net income grow — by 28 percent to NT$1.85 billion last month — while the other three reported net income declines.

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