Financial groups see rise in profit, slowed growth

ON TOP::Cathay Financial was the most profitable among its peers for the first three quarters, while Fubon Financial was last month’s biggest earner

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Oct 11, 2018 - Page 12

Taiwan’s financial conglomerates reported a total of NT$278.1 billion (US$8.98 billion) in net profit for the first three quarters, an improvement of 12.61 percent from the same period last year, but profit growth slowed last month as US-China trade tensions began to take a bigger toll on the global markets.

Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控), the nation’s largest financial holding firm by market value, posted NT$54.56 billion in net profit for the first three quarters, or earnings per share (EPS) of NT$4.17, making it the most profitable among 15 listed peers in the first nine months, a company filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange showed.

However, the company’s net profit last month fell to NT$2.14 billion, a 58 percent decrease from August.

Cathay Financial’s main subsidiary, Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽), saw its net profit last month dip to NT$40 million as the insurer was affected by a stronger New Taiwan dollar at the end of the month, the company said, adding that its first-year premiums for protection-type policies expanded 61 percent year-on-year last month.

The company’s banking arm, Cathay United Bank (國泰世華銀行) was the stronger performer, posting earnings of NT$21.7 billion on the back of strong loan-to-deposit ratios and steady fee income.

Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控) posted a profit of NT$2.9 billion last month to top its peers, while its profit between January and last month rose 13.02 percent year-on-year to NT$50.01 billion, or EPS of NT$4.74.

Fubon Life Insurance Co (富邦人壽) recorded a net profit of NT$30.95 billion for the first three quarters, a 14 percent annual increase on strong investment returns.

Its banking arm, Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank (台北富邦銀行), saw its net income rise 12 percent on the back of higher interest income.

Meanwhile, Shin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控) posted a net loss of NT$2.11 billion last month, due to widening foreign exchange losses, as well as higher hedging costs, it said.

However, it reported net income of NT$19.41 billion in the first nine months, or EPS of NT$1.73.

The company said that its foreign exchange losses could begin to narrow in the final quarter if the New Taiwan dollar continues to depreciate against the US dollar.