National Bank Q4 profit up 8% from last year to $566 million, dividend going up

MONTREAL — National Bank of Canada hiked its dividend as it reported fourth-quarter net income of $566 million, up eight per cent from the previous year, as each of its three main business units improved earnings.

The Montreal-based bank’s profit during the three months ended Oct. 31 amounted to $1.52 per share on a diluted basis and $1.53 per share after adjustments.

Analysts had estimated $1.52 per share of net income and $1.52 per share of adjusted earnings, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Revenue for the three months ended Oct. 31 was $1.87 billion, slightly above analyst estimates.

During the same period of fiscal 2017, National Bank had $525 million of net income or $1.39 per share and $1.76 billion of revenue.

The bank also said its quarterly dividend will rise three cents to 65 cents per common share, payable Feb. 1.

National Bank’s fourth-quarter results were fuelled by a 10 per cent year-over-year increase in net income from its personal and commercial banking division, totalling $257 million.

The bank’s wealth management division posted net income of $124 million during the fourth quarter, up 14 per cent from the same period a year earlier. Its financial markets segment reported net income of $192 million during the quarter, up from $183 million in 2017.

For the full financial 2018 year, the Montreal-based bank reported net income of $2.23 billion, up 10 per cent from the same 12-month period ended Oct. 31 in 2017.

“2018 ended with record net income of over $2.2 billion driven by strong performance across all business lines and an improved efficiency ratio,” said National Bank’s president and chief executive officer in a statement.

National Bank’s latest quarter was in line with expectations as strength in capital markets offset seasonally-elevated expenses, said Robert Sedran, an analyst with CIBC Capital Markets.

“A good result with each of the operating segments showing consistent trends,” he said in a note to clients.

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