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BMO raised its quarterly dividend as it reported its fourth-quarter profit slipped compared with a year ago, hurt by reinsurance claims related to hurricanes Irma, Maria and Harvey.

The bank says Tuesday it will now pay a quarterly dividend of 93 cents per share, up three cents from the previous quarter.

The increase in the payment to shareholders came as BMO reported its fourth-quarter net income fell to $1.23 billion or $1.81 per share, down from $1.35 billion or $2.02 per share a year ago.

Read: What’s more important for equities than U.S. tax reform

BMO says the quarter included increased reinsurance claims of $112 million largely related to the hurricanes, as well as the impact of a weaker U.S. dollar and a $41-million after-tax restructuring charge.

Revenue for the three months ended Oct. 31 totalled $5.66 billion, up from $5.28 billion.

On an adjusted basis, BMO said it earned $1.31 billion or $1.94 per share, down from nearly $1.4 billion or $2.10 per share a year ago.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.99 per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Barclays analyst John Aiken says the bank missed expectations, noting that the reinsurance claims cost the bank 17 cents per share.

Read: Essential tax numbers: updated for 2018

“That said, this will likely be offset by the better than anticipated dividend increase and strong domestic retail performance,” Aiken wrote in a report to clients.

More details

Canadian personal and commercial banking earned net income of $624 million in the quarter, up 6% from a year ago, while U.S. personal and commercial banking earned net income of $280 million, down 3% from a year ago due to a weaker U.S. dollar.

BMO Wealth Management earned net income of $172 million, down 38% from a year ago. BMO Capital Markets earned $326 million, down 17% from a record performance in the same quarter last year.

Provisions for credit losses totalled $208 million, an increase of $34 million from a year ago due to higher provisions at BMO Capital Markets, corporate services and Canadian personal and commercial banking.

Read: CIBC reports 25% net income gain in Q4

BMO’s common equity tier 1 ratio was 11.4% at Oct. 31, up from 11.2% at the end of its third quarter.

For the full financial year, BMO reported a profit of $5.35 billion or $7.92 per share, up from $4.63 billion or $6.92 per share a year ago.

“We start 2018 from a position of strength, with diversified and competitively advantaged businesses, a team of highly engaged, customer-focused employees and a solid technology and data foundation,” BMO chief executive Darryl White said in a statement.

“I am confident that we will build on these core capabilities to accelerate growth, improve efficiency and drive customer loyalty.”

Originally published on Advisor.ca
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