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National Commercial Bank hints at further investments overseas

Published:Sunday | May 1, 2016 | 12:00 AMSteven Jackson
NCB group managing director Patrick Hylton.

National Commercial Bank Jamaica (NCB) hinted on Friday at preliminary plans to make additional investments in the region, but was silent on the specifics.

The bank also remains bullish for the remainder of its financial year after posting a $3.6 billion net profit for its second quarter ending March 2016, an increase of 10.2 per cent more than a year ago. It made $6 billion over the half year.

Group managing director Patrick Hylton made the comments about the unknown investment while speaking about previous acquisitions at NCB's quarterly investor briefing on Friday.

The bank's last purchase was a 29.9 per cent stake in Trinidad-based insurance conglomerate Guardian Holdings Limited, a deal whose closure is subject to regulatory approval.

The deal needs sign-off in 23 markets, according to a market filing in Trinidad by Guardian Holdings on April 21. The transaction has already been approved in Trinidad and Jamaica, but sign-off is pending in smaller markets.

Hylton said NCB was hoping that the Guardian acquisition "will conclude in the relatively near future".




He then brought up the Dominican Republic.

"Of course, we are pursuing efforts in Dominican Republic, and there are other efforts we are pursuing which are not appropriate to announce at this time. So, at the right time, we will speak more definitively to that," he said at the briefing held at The Atrium, NCB's corporate headquarters in New Kingston.

NCB plans to enter the Dom Rep market through wealth subsidiary NCB Capital Markets Limited this year.

Speaking about NCB's financial performance, Hylton was upbeat.

"We remain very bullish about this business and we think that the foundation of economic stability is one which augurs well with our prospects. It will be enhanced to the extent that we can produce economic growth and we look forward to that as well. Of course, as we look across the region, we are seeing opportunities, not just in Jamaica but other markets," he said.

"Our results will continue to be strong and will improve."

The bank made more profit year-on-year, and 50 per cent more profit when the second quarter 2016 was compared with the first quarter 2016.

Loans and advances, which totalled $172.7 billion at March 2016, grew by 9.4 per cent or $14.8 billion relative to March 2015.

"This was driven by growth in all our segments' portfolios, led by an 11.5 per cent increase in the retail banking portfolio," according to the bank's quarterly financials.

Non-performing loans totalled $8.5 billion as at March 2016, compared to $8.8 billion at March 2015, and represented 4.8 per cent of the gross loans compared to 5.4 per cent the previous year.

Customer deposits rose 19.5 per cent or $41 billion to $251 billion. This was driven by growth in savings, current accounts and fixed deposit portfolios, said NCB.

Total assets grew by $67 billion to $555.6 billion, while group equity rose by $8 billion to $92 billion.