NCB to distribute one-third of quarterly profit as dividend
National Commercial Bank Jamaica reported a moderate rise in net profit for the March quarter at just under $3.3 billion, and will distribute a third of those funds or $1.1 billion to shareholders.
The dividend of 45 cents per share equals the distribution after the first quarter, when profit for the period amounted to $2.13 billion.
Group Finance and Deputy Managing Director Dennis Cohen said the upcoming billion-dollar payout was reflective of the company's optimism about the future and the strength of its capital base.
"We have a large cushion," said Cohen.
three per cent decline
Second quarter profit rose by seven per cent, but the banking group reported a modest three per cent decline in profit across the six-month period, from restated year-ago levels of $5.55 billion to $5.4 billion - a performance linked to asset tax liabilities.
NCB said the asset tax cut close to $718 million from the group's half-year profits.
The banking group closed the March quarter with a capital base of $84 billion, reflecting growth of about 10 per cent over the span of a year, but its total assets retreated from the neat $1 trillion mark in December to just under $489 billion in March, the same point at which it landed in March 2014.
Signalling a positive outlook on the economy at an investor's briefing on Friday, NCB Group Managing Director Patrick Hylton said that there were projects in the pipeline, which indicated that the economy may be about to turn a corner.
Cohen added that as GOJ securities mature and investors turn to other assets, the bank expected that the market would see a "lot of liquidity chasing different assets", leading to a possible improvement in credit availability.
The bank will pay second quarter dividends on May 21. The distribution is 10 cents more than the 35 cents per share paid out in May 2014, and triple the 16 cents per share in the 2013 period.